Budget ready for Walker to sign, some Republicans unhappy
By David Schuman, WAOW-TV (Channel 7)
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The state budget arrived on Governor Scott Walker's desk Thursday morning.
It looks a little different than his original proposal, but he's expected to sign it this week ahead of his announcement Monday that he's running for president.
The $72 billion two-year spending plan passed 52-46 in the Assembly.
To put that in some perspective, you could build the new Milwaukee Bucks arena 144 times over with that money.
"It's bigger than McDonald's and IBM, Visa and all those big corporate entities," said State Rep. Scott Krug, a Republican from Nekoosa.
Every Democrat and 11 Republicans voted no, including Krug and Wausau's Dave Heaton.
"The basic problem was there was too many large, important items that I believed should've been handled outside the budget process," said Heaton.
Katrina Shankland, a Democratic state representative from Stevens Point, said the budget makes more sense as a campaign document for Walker's presidential bid.
"The fact that it wasn't unanimous in the Senate or the Assembly, that it was bipartisan opposition, shows just how extreme and bad this budget is for Wisconsin's working families," Shankland said.
The budget would cut $250 million from the UW system, $50 million less than Walker wanted.
$850 million would be borrowed for road projects, down from the Republican governor's $1.3 billion proposal.
"We've been borrowing close to a billion, two billion sometimes, every biennium for transportation," said Krug. "At some point, the credit card's maxed out and I think we went a little too far with that yesterday."
Walker said in a weekly radio statement he's focused on people keeping their money.
"The budget I will sign will lower property taxes for the fifth and sixth years in a row," he said. "That means the property tax bill on a typical home will actually be lower in 2016 than it was in 2010."
The new state budget includes no increase in sales or personal income taxes.
But some fees were raised. It will now cost three to five dollars more to go camping in state parks.
People on welfare may need to pass a drug test to get their benefits.
Governor Walker has the power to veto individual items in the budget.
He's said he plans to finalize it before Monday when he will announce he's running for president.