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Wisconsin Assembly Leaders Raise Prospect Of Budget Deal

Senate Republicans: 'No Deal Yet'

The Wisconsin capitol building
jpellgen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Republican Assembly leaders on Thursday told Gov. Scott Walker they had accepted his offer to use $200 million originally intended to cut income taxes to instead help pay for roads.

But later in the afternoon Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald there’s “no deal yet” on the state budget.

Fitzgerald spoke to reporters Thursday after holding a conference call with other Republican senators.

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Assembly Republicans’ chief objection to the budget was that it relied too much on borrowing to pay for roads. But in a letter Thursday, leaders told Walker that they believe his offer to use income tax money for roads “has bridged the gap between our two houses.”

But Fitzgerald says Senate Republicans are still “strong” on wanting to reduce or eliminate the personal property tax. Senators had wanted to use that $200 million for that.

Fitzgerald said he plans to speak with Walker about the budget Thursday night and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos after that.

A co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee said he wants the panel to resume its stalled work next week in light of the agreement.

State Rep. John Nygren sent a letter to fellow Joint Finance Committee co-chair Sen. Alberta Darling on Thursday. Nygren said in the letter that he believes the road-funding deal “is a positive step and provides a path forward to responsible resolution of the state budget.”

The state budget is three weeks late. Current funding continues during the impasse.

The Joint Finance Committee must complete its work on putting together the spending plan before the Senate and Assembly can vote on passing it.

Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 5:10 p.m., Thursday, July 20, 2017 to include comments from Scott Fitzgerald.