Assembly speaker says he won't be 'held hostage' on state budget

Assembly Democrats blast budget up for vote

Vos said he would only make technical changes to the budget during Assembly debate, raising doubt about whether the spending plan would pass the full Legislature this week.

If the Senate makes any changes to the budget the document would have to go back to the Assembly since both houses must pass an identical plan before it can go to Walker for his signature.

"This package gets me closer to saying "yes" to it", Kapenga said.

The Republican-controlled Assembly planned to vote Wednesday night.

Steve Nass, Duey Stroebel, Chris Kapenga and Dave Craig - have refused to vote for the budget. They say Foxconn offers a once-in-a-generation chance to create thousands of jobs and transform the state's tech and manufacturing sectors.

The state Senate on Friday began debating a proposal for the state's next budget, even as it remained unclear if the Republican legislative majority had the support needed to send it to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker.

The Assembly floor debate began at noon and dragged on until 11 p.m. Democrats focused their criticism on tax cuts benefiting the wealthy rather than reducing taxes for the working poor, saying Republicans had "rigged" the budget against the middle class.

Wispolitics.com reports that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is holding open the option of coming in over the weekend to take up the state budget if needed.

The budget passed 57-39 with state Reps. Lawmakers and Walker already are more than 10 weeks past a July 1 deadline to enact a budget.

Two GOP Assemblymen voted against the plan.

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Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, accused the holdout Republican senators of a last-second bid to blow up a budget agreement among Republican leaders.

"That's not the way this process works", Vos said.

"We're not going to be held hostage to individuals who have some kind of a wish list", Vos said.

Walker talked about the budget Wednesday in a conference call from South Korea where he is on a trade mission. Walker made calls to senators "to listen to their concerns and reach a solution", according to the governor's spokesman, Tom Evenson.

Another demand: barring the University of Wisconsin System from spending on "mandatory diversity, sensitivity and cultural fluency training".

Craig didn't return a message.

Walker said Wednesday that the budget fulfills his goals of increasing funding for K-12 schools without increasing property taxes.

Fitzgerald, who now leads the Senate, responded to Vos by saying that the speaker's refusal to accept the Senate's revisions of the budget is "not how the process works", referring to how governments operate on negotiations.

Progress on the budget had been delayed by Senate-Assembly disagreements, especially on transportation funding, until last week, when the Joint Finance Committee passed an amended budget. Instead, the state is delaying projects and borrowing $400 million. The budget raises that to 220 percent of the poverty level. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, said he wants to see a January 1 effective date to repeal the state's prevailing wage requirement.

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