the day. Yesterday was the day that the fiscal year ended, when one
budget ends and the next began. But as you might know, the Legislature
didn’t pass a budget. So what happens now?
Nothing really, except a little embarrassment for not being able to do
Kind of anti-climactic, I know.
Do you remember when the Federal Government shut down and everything
from national parks to the post office closed until Congress sorted
things out? Well, we don’t have anything like that here in Wisconsin.
Instead, our state will continue to operate as usual, just using the old
budget until the new one is signed into law by the Governor. It just
means that like we’ve been doing the whole month of June, the
Legislature is in a holding pattern until the Assembly and Senate
leadership are able to get back to work.
That is, until today.
It has been 150 days since the budget was introduced and in that time,
three main issues have created the most problems, not for the people of
Wisconsin but for the Majority Party. It seems that not everyone could
agree on what to do regarding changing prevailing wage laws, building a
new Bucks Arena and funding transportation projects outside Milwaukee.
Here is a brief rundown of how we got to where we are today:
On Day 1, the Governor unveiled his spending plan and on Day 2, members
of his party in the Assembly were already talking about major changes
they wanted to make.
On Day 80, Sen. Stephen Nass was arguing that any deal relating to the
new Bucks Arena needed to be kept out of the budget and voted on as
Day 94 saw the announcement from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that
there was no new revenue growth expected in the next two years, that is,
no new magic pot of money to solve all the budget problems.
On Day 101, Rep. Rob Brooks called the budget “a crap budget” and Rep.
Andy Jorgensen called it a “dumpster fire.”
On Day 122, Sen. Duey Stroebel vowed to vote against a budget that did
not contain a full repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.
On Day 137, the two co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee started
arguing through the press, accusing each other of causing the delays.
On Day 148, Speaker Robin Vos announced that the Assembly was ready to
vote on the budget but that the Senate still did not have their votes in
On Day 149, the fiscal year ended and the Legislature had officially
blown the budget deadline.
Day 150 (Today): a budget deal was announced, ending the month long
The prevailing wage issue and the new Bucks Arena have both been removed
from the budget and will be taken up as standalone pieces of
legislation. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to meet for the
very last time tomorrow and in a surprising twist, the Assembly will get
the budget first on Tuesday of next week.
That is quite a lot of excitement for one day and as my colleagues and I
gear up for this final work on the budget, I hope that you will continue
to keep me updated with your thoughts and concerns. I’ll be sure to keep
you updated as well as things move forward.