this June 4, 2015 file photo, Republican Senate
Majority Leader Scott L. Fitzgerald, left, speaking
in Madison, Wis., said he and Gov. Scott Walker,
center, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, right, have
agreed to pull language altering the state's open
records law from the state budget _ a move that
follows a loud bipartisan outcry. Walker, not used
to getting so much gruff on the budget from his own
party, had hoped a boosted Republican majority in
his state’s Legislature would lead to the quick
and smooth passage of a budget, a perfect kickoff to
his all-but-announced campaign for president.
— Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hoped a larger Republican
majority in his state's Legislature would lead to the
quick and smooth passage of a budget, a perfect kickoff to
his all-but-announced campaign for president.
the spending plan landed on his desk a week late bearing
the most 'no' votes his budgets have ever received from
GOP lawmakers, who derided his original $73 billion
spending plan as "crap."
who voted against the budget cited a variety of concerns
with the far-reaching legislation that lays out Walker's
priorities for state funding over the next two years. They
said it didn't spend enough on K-12 schools, would borrow
too much for road construction and they objected to
repealing a law setting minimum salaries for construction
workers on local government projects. Their lukewarm
reception isn't the kind of momentum Walker's had hoped
for heading into the launch of his presidential bid
still has plenty to campaign on: The budget includes no
sales or income tax increases and property taxes are in
line to be lower in 2016 than they were when Walker took
office in 2011. He's also expanding the private school
voucher program, a favorite with conservatives, and
continuing a tuition freeze at the University of Wisconsin
are big losses as well.
much-discussed restructuring of the university system was
jettisoned by wary lawmakers who didn't want to cede
control. Deep budget cuts to K-12 schools and the UW
System were scaled back. The Legislature rejected his call
to cut funding for the popular SeniorCare prescription
drug program and idea to borrow $220 million to pay for a
new Milwaukee Bucks stadium. Most embarrassingly, a
last-minute provision gutting the state's open records law
was quickly stripped following loud bipartisan outcry.
this July 8, 2015 photo, from left: Assistant
Majority Leader Daniel Knodl, R-Germantown; Majority
Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, and Speaker Robin
Vos, R-Rochester, answer questions from Rep.
Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, before a vote on
an amendment during debate on the state budget at
the Capitol in Madison, Wis. Bernier and 10 other
Assembly Republicans surprisingly joined all
Democrats in voting against the budget that passed
later in the evening with just two votes to spare
and now heads to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature
and vetoes. Walker hoped a boosted Republican
majority in his state’s Legislature would lead to
the quick and smooth passage of a budget, a perfect
kickoff to his all-but-announced campaign for
not used to getting so much gruff from his own party,
especially on the budget. In 2011, not a single Republican
voted against it. Two years later, one moderate Republican
senator, Dale Schultz, and two GOP Assembly members turned
year, the flood gates opened, in part because Republicans
are holding the party's largest majority since 1957 in the
Assembly, up by four seats from two years ago. The
majority in the Senate grew by one.
Republican senator, Rob Cowles, joined Democrats in voting
against the budget, saying it contained too many policy
items that weren't spending-related.
Republicans were unusually critical of Walker during the
months of budget talks, with freshman Rep. Rob Brooks
saying in May that, "We may have a crap budget, but
we're going to make it better."
end, 11 voted against the plan Wednesday, meaning it
passed the chamber with just two votes to spare 52-46.
Brooks was not among them. During debate Wednesday night,
he said the Assembly had improved it. "Now, I can go
back to my constituents ... and say, it's not a crap
budget," Brooks said.
were still signs of discontent.
personally think the governor's budget as delivered was a
piece of crap. Not to mince any words, OK?"
Republican Rep. Tom Weatherston said candidly during
debate. Still, he voted for the budget.
didn't were silent during debate, though several of the 11
Republicans who voted against it explained themselves
later in statements.
James Edming objected to a late addition that largely
repeals the prevailing wage law, which sets minimum
salaries for construction workers on government projects.
Rep. Scott Krug said the budget "falls short" in
school funding, and Rep. Keith Ripp didn't think the
budget did enough to solve the state's transportation
hasn't spoken since the budget passed early Thursday. He's
expected to sign it and issue vetoes before Monday's event
in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha. From there, Walker
has campaign stops slated in four early primary states,
ending with a weekend blitz in neighboring Iowa.
— The state Assembly has approved a resolution
re-affirming open government in Wisconsin.
slipped language into the state budget last week that
would have shielded nearly everything government officials
create from the open records law. The Republicans
backtracked and removed the language Tuesday.
Democrats introduced a resolution on the Assembly floor
Thursday calling for the chamber's organizational
committee to meet immediately and pass a resolution
affirming the Assembly's commitment to the open records
law and preserving it unchanged.
Robin Vos, a Rochester Republican, moved to amend the
resolution to erase committee involvement and the
commitment to preservation of the law so it read only that
the body would work to uphold transparent government.
chamber passed Vos' amendment on a voice vote and the