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Steineke Disappointed With Senate’s Response To Walker’s $200M Transportation Deal

Lawmaker Says He's Unsure When Assembly, Senate Leadership Will Meet On Budget Plan

Rep. Jim Steineke
Rep. Steineke’s Legislative website

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said he was disappointed with state Senate Republicans’ response to the latest transportation funding proposal offer from Gov. Scott Walker.

Earlier this month Walker proposed shifting $200 million meant for income tax cuts to pay for road projects.

Assembly leaders agreed to the governor’s proposal, even though it didn’t include an additional long-term revenue stream for transportation, such as an increase to the gas tax or vehicle registration fees, as their caucus had wanted.

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“We’ve accepted the fact that the Senate’s at a place where they don’t want any more revenue for DOT except the $700 million-plus in bonding. We’re at a place where we don’t accept the bonding,” Steineke, R-Kaukauna, told Wisconsin Public Radio on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said last week he wasn’t sure the governor’s numbers on road funding add up. But he also said he didn’t think negotiators are far from a budget deal.

The budget is more than three weeks overdue, and the Legislature’s budget writing committee has not met in more than a month.

Asked whether lawmakers may have to pass the rest of the state budget before taking up transportation, Steineke said that was something lawmakers might have to look at if the impasse continues, but he said it wasn’t his preferred option.

“We want to make sure that the public schools get the money that they need and they have some certainty going into their budget process, as well as local units of government,” he said. “But obviously that’s not something we’d prefer to do.”

Steineke said he was hopeful lawmakers would be able to approve a final budget by mid-August.