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Walker’s Budget Proposal Faces Opposition From Republican Leaders

Party Leaders Say Walker's Budget Doesn't Do Enough To Address State's Transportation Funding Shortfall

Scott Walker, Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal unveiled Wednesday were met with opposition from fellow Republican leaders. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos criticized Walker’s budget Wednesday for not doing enough to fix the state’s roughly $1 billion transportation shortfall both short and long term.

Walker’s budget proposal would delay state road projects like the I-94 east-west expansion in Milwaukee but would add an additional $31 million to help finish an expansion and improvement of I-94 from the state line to Racine. Walker closed the door on a transportation funding compromise. He said funding for state road projects won’t come from an increase in taxes.

“Now is not the time to raise taxes,” he said. “It’s not the time to raise gas taxes. It’s not the time to raise income taxes. It’s not the time to raise taxes on farmers and manufacturers as some have propose in each of those categories.”

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Walker previously said he would be open to raising the gas tax or vehicle registration fees if there was an equal tax cut in another area. He also said the delay on the I-94 project is partly to avoid legal challenges.

“We don’t want to end up in a position like we see in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan County,” Walker said. “Highway 23 there, which is an important transportation project, has been locked up in court for some time. We want to get consensus so we don’t waste time and resources in court.”

Vos also opposed Walker’s plan to cut tuition for UW-System in state students. Speaking Thursday, Walker said their disagreements are just on high profile issues and he thinks they will agree on the majority of the other items.

“We’ll have a budget that not only the speaker but others in the Assembly and Senate will ultimately pass something I think very similar to what we have,” Walker said. “No governor has ever had a budget that’s been approved as proposed so there’s always going to be some changes.”

Vos was not the only Republican to voice displeasure with Walker’s budget. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald also spoke Wednesday saying he wanted to be sure the state could afford Walker’s proposals.

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