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Fitzgerald Says Republicans ‘Close’ On Budget

Comments Come After Walker Proposes Shifting $200M From Income Taxes Cut To Roads

Wisconsin State Capitol
Team Frosick (CC-BY-NC)

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he believes lawmakers are “fairly close” to reaching a budget deal.

Fitzgerald’s comments Friday on WTAQ-AM come even though he is criticizing the latest road-funding proposal from Gov. Scott Walker and the position of Assembly Republicans as “all sleight of hand.”

Fitzgerald, of Juneau, said Assembly Republicans were giving an “illusion” of there being a budget deal. But he also said he doesn’t think the two sides are that far apart.

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The biggest difference is over road funding.

Walker proposed using $200 million originally targeted to cut income taxes to instead nearly eliminate borrowing to pay for roads. But Fitzgerald said he’s not sure the numbers add up.

Meanwhile, Republican state Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke is calling on fellow Republicans in the Senate to take the latest budget offer floated by Walker. Steineke said Friday on WTAQ-AM that the deal Walker offered to divert the $200 million is a “good deal.”

“I’m wondering why the Senate is taking so long to embrace this,” Steineke, of Kaukauna, said.

Fitzgerald emerged from a conference call with GOP senators Thursday saying there was no budget deal yet.

The budget is three weeks overdue. Current spending continues during the impasse, but if it drags into August the lack of a new budget could start to affect road projects.