Walker, Finance Committee Chair Disagree On How Quickly Budget Should Be Approved

While Governor Wants Next Budget To Be Pushed Through Legislature More Speedily, Nygren Says He Won't Compromise Process For Faster Pace

Rep. John Nygren, who is chairman of the Joint Finance Committee. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin State Legislature.

Gov. Scott Walker wants the Legislature to move quickly on the next state budget, but Republican lawmakers say they don’t expect to rush.

Wisconsin’s last few budgets have all been negotiated under single-party control. Because of that they’ve all moved along quickly, getting signed into law by June before the start of the fiscal year. But Walker has signaled he’d like majority Republican lawmakers to move even faster this year.

“We think if we take into account issues that members of the Senate and Assembly have with the budget up front instead of waiting for all those things afterwards … it doesn’t mean there won’t be scrutiny. There should be. It just means that some of the things that they might have put in at the tail end of the process might be incorporated in the front,” said Walker.

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Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-chairs the Legislature’s budget committee, said there are certain things that lawmakers are not willing to give up.

“I don’t see us pushing the budget at a high pace just for the sake of getting done early,” he said. “If we can get there we will, but it’s not going to be a top priority for us.”

Nygren said the Legislature will want the full budget to be analyzed by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. He also said a bigger Republican majority this year creates a new challenge.

“For us with 63 members in the Assembly, many of them in their first or second session, it’s important for us to be able to communicate the different issues that are in the budget, address concerns that they have,” Nygren said.

As long as the current budget is in balance, there’s nothing that requires a new budget to get passed before the next fiscal year begins in July. But according to the best available estimates by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the current budget would fall into deficit by June unless revenues exceed expectations.