State Budget Update


July 1, 2015

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Yesterday was 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 their job.

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 separate legislation.

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 order.

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 stalemate.

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.






State Representative

94th Assembly District



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