committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren, left, discusses details
of the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks arena plan as Assembly
Speaker Robin Vos watches on Monday, June 29, 2015, in
Madison, Wis. The financing proposal relies on half of the
money coming from state and local taxpayers, with the other
half from current and former team owners.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called on Senate Republicans to
publicly take a position on the type of changes to Wisconsin's
prevailing wage law they're willing to support, saying Monday that
his plan cutting eligible projects by 60 percent has the votes to
pass and be signed into law.
With the budget
impasse now in its fifth week, Vos voiced frustration with his
Senate colleagues, saying he would hold more news conferences this
week to lay out the Assembly's positions on other outstanding
Assembly is not going to just sit around and wait for the Senate
to get its act together," Vos said.
Just three hours
later, he released the highly anticipated draft of the $500
million Milwaukee Bucks arena financing proposal, the outline of
which was made public on June 4. Half of the money would come from
state and local taxpayers, with the other half from current and
former team owners.
Vos said he had
enough votes in the Assembly to pass the proposal whether it's in
the budget or not, but he didn't know where things stood in the
In addition to
the Bucks plan and the issue of prevailing wage — a law that
sets minimum salaries for construction workers on public projects
like building roads and schools — the Republican-controlled
Legislature is also at a standstill on how to apply cuts in
The new budget
year begins Wednesday, but current funding levels will continue
unabated with no government shutdown until a new spending plan is
enacted. Republican senators were to caucus Tuesday, with Assembly
Republicans meeting Wednesday.
Walker, who had previously said he wouldn't announce a
presidential bid until after he signs the budget, is now planning
to state his intentions as soon as July 13, regardless of whether
the Legislature is done.
Vos said it's a
possibility that the Assembly could move forward with its own
separate budget bill — a highly unusual tactic — instead of
working together with the Senate to reach a deal.
Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's spokeswoman had no immediate
comment. Walker's spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, said in an email
that the governor "supports a full repeal of the prevailing
wage law but would accept meaningful reform if that is what gets
to his desk." Vos' prevailing wage proposal would eliminate
the prevailing wage for projects by technical colleges or
involving volunteers, donations and residential or agricultural
It would also bar
prevailing wage from being required on any projects costing less
than $450,000 for other units of government. Under current law,
there are a variety of different thresholds.
The issue has
been a tough one for the Legislature, with some conservatives
pushing for a full repeal while minority Democrats and even some
Republicans want to preserve the law. Sen. Steve Nass, one of two
Republicans who've sworn not to vote for a state budget that
doesn't at least repeal prevailing wage for local projects,
blasted Vos' proposal as a "compromise with special
a 19-14 majority in the Senate, and Fitzgerald can only lose two
votes to still have enough to pass a budget. Vos said he didn't
think the Senate had 17 votes in support of any prevailing wage
Prosperity, a conservative group founded by billionaires Charles
and David Koch, said Vos' proposal doesn't go far enough and it
will continue working for full repeal.
Also on Monday, a
group of construction employers, small businesses and the
Wisconsin Association of School Boards issued a statement
reiterating their position that they would prefer that the
prevailing wage law be repealed entirely for local projects.
would also simplify how wages are calculated for any qualifying
Rep. Dan Knodl,
who joined Vos in announcing the plan, said it was the "best
possible package that can produce meaningful reforms."
is the road to full repeal," Knodl said.
MADISON — A
coalition of faith leaders, low-income advocates and consumer
groups is warning against a possible budget provision that could
limit transparency about rent-to-own products.
director of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, said
Monday that he anticipated exemptions would be added to the state
budget for companies that offer rent-to-own goods. Rent-to-own
companies offer products like televisions and electronics that
people can buy in rental payment installments. Skopec said many
companies charge substantial interest.
Skopec says he
hasn't yet seen a provision that would exempt the companies from
publishing their interest rates, but believes one is imminent.
A spokeswoman for
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says changes to
rent-to-own provisions are under consideration.
budget-writing committee has not met since May 29.