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Lawmakers inch closer to budget deal

 

Wisconsin Republicans may have finally reached an agreement to solve the impasse on the state's long-delayed two year budget.

It would include about $400 million in new borrowing for roads, and a higher fee for electric vehicles.

"The good part is both sides have moved on transportation and that is what is important," State Sen. Alberta Darling told reporters on Tuesday.

Lawmakers says they've come to tentative agreement on how to pay for roads.

"A framework is in place, where general conversations has gotten us to a place where we are pretty close, but to say we have a deal would be premature," added State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.

The proposed agreement calls for borrowing $410 million and increasing registration on electric vehicles by about $100 a year.

"Electric cars don't pay anything directly to help the transportation system even though they help put the wear and tear like every other vehicle everybody else pays a gas tax, be it a truck or a vehicle, this just is a parody," Gov. Walker said.

Out of the $410 million for road projects, $250 million would go directly to I-94 near the Illinois boarder as part of the Foxconn deal.

"All active majors that are on track will stay on track," explained Gov. Walker.

"It still isn't a full way to address our transportation," said State Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton.

Stuck added the borrowing amount is still too high.

"That's a lot of borrowing, concerned about what that is going to mean for the future again when we see almost a quarter of every dollar going to borrowing in transportation under some of these plans," said Stuck.

And while a budget deal seems to be in sight, lawmakers still need to hammer out details on income limits for school vouchers and reducing property taxes.

"I would expect within the first part of September we'll be ready to go to the floor and vote on a budget," said State Sen. Roger Roth.

The Joint Finance Committee is meeting later this week to vote on some smaller items in the budget. The committee plans to meet next week to vote on education and transportation.