MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on state budget negotiations (all times local):
Senate Republicans who two years ago spoke out loudly against more borrowing to pay for Wisconsin roads have shifted into reverse and now back a plan to issue $712 million in additional bonds to do just that.
That is a major sticking point in reaching a deal on passing a new Wisconsin budget that is already 19 days overdue.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos emerged from a 90-minute private meeting with Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Wednesday saying borrowing as much as Walker and Senate Republicans want “doesn’t make any sense.”
Senate Republicans used to agree.
Six Republican senators on the budget committee voted in November 2015 against $350 million in borrowing, calling it unsustainable. The borrowing was approved then on a 12-6 vote, with Assembly Republicans joining Democrats in support.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says budget negotiations among Republicans who control the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker are ongoing, but no deal has been reached.
Vos spoke to reporters Wednesday after a private meeting with Walker and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. The meeting came after Fitzgerald and Senate leaders unveiled their own budget proposal Tuesday.
Vos says they talked about “different ideas” but “we didn’t go into any great depth about specifics.”
The Senate plan calls for borrowing $712 million to pay for roads. Vos says borrowing that much “doesn’t make any sense.” He and Assembly Republicans have said there shouldn’t be more borrowing without a way to pay for it.
The budget is 19 days late, but spending continues at current levels during the impasse.
Gov. Scott Walker is scheduled to meet with Republican legislative leaders to discuss the stalled state budget that’s nearly three weeks past due.
The meeting Wednesday comes the day after Senate Republicans publicly released their proposal for solving the remaining issues holding up passage of a two-year spending plan.
The biggest area of disagreement between Senate and Assembly Republicans is how to pay for roads. The Senate proposed borrowing an additional $712 million. Assembly Republicans have said they won’t vote for more borrowing without a way to pay for it. Walker and Senate Republicans have refused to consider raising taxes or vehicle fees.
The Senate budget proposal would also eliminate the prevailing wage and the personal property tax and allow more families to qualify for the statewide private school voucher program.