Foxconn bill awaits Walker's signature after clearing Assembly


Assembly 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. He said the Assembly would reject any changes the Senate might make to the budget and the senators should introduce their demands as stand-alone bills.

Mikalsen said the vetoes discussed with Walker relate to "taxpayer savings" but declined to detail them further, saying that's up to the governor or his staff. In the Senate, Republican legislators accepted an amendment that would give the state Supreme Court the option to hear Foxconn lawsuits faster.

A Stroebel spokesman declined comment. The Senate must pass an identical document before it can go to Gov. Scott Walker's desk.

Republicans responded by casting Democratic opposition to the deal as knee-jerk resistance to Walker, who negotiated the Foxconn deal.

Assembly Republicans passed the budget on Wednesday, sending it on to the Senate.

Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, said in a statement the budget is "responsible and accountable to Wisconsin families".

Debate began more than two months after the budget was supposed to have been taken effect on July 1.

One of five Wisconsin senators who refused to support the state budget said Thursday that he has changed his mind, leaving the Senate just one vote short of passage a day before the chamber plans to convene to take up the $76 billion spending 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.

"We are eager to work with the people of Wisconsin to make it a center of worldwide high-tech manufacturing", the statement read. "We're not going to come back and undo all the good work that we've already done because one person wants to hold the state hostage".

Walker talked about the budget Wednesday in a conference call from South Korea where he is on a trade mission. They include prohibiting the University of Wisconsin System from spending $4 million on diversity training, allowing municipalities to impose wheel taxes only through referendums; repealing the state's prevailing wage on January 1 and increasing the income limit for participating in the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

The Senate convened momentarily Friday morning, then immediately recessed so GOP senators could meet privately.

Walker told reporters earlier Wednesday he would sign off on last-minute budget changes speeding up repeal of the prevailing wage.

Vos pushed back against the demands though, calling it a "ransom list" from lawmakers who couldn't get their way during budget 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. The plan preserves funding for two ongoing projects in Dane County: one to expand and rebuild Verona Road near McKee Road; the other, U.S. Interstate 39-90 from the Madison area to IL. It sends $639 million more to K-12 public schools and imposes a new fee on hybrid vehicles. It also eliminates, starting in 2019, the state's alternative minimum tax, which applies to individuals making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. The budget raises that to 220 percent of the poverty level.

Walker says he would support moving up elimination of the state prevailing wage to January 1 or even sooner.