After hours of debate, following weeks of debate, the Wisconsin State Senate yesterday passed a proposed biennial budget for the state.
The bill, which passed the assembly earlier this week, now goes to Governor Scott Walker’s desk. Walker praised the work on the budget, but could still use his line-item veto power to alter it.
The bill include provisions for a sweeping expansion of the state’s private school voucher program, as well as cuts to the state’s income tax, among other major changes. Additionally the bill will make cuts to the state’s income tax by $650 million over a two-year period. Under the budget, property taxes will rise about 1% for the typical homeowner.
The bill passed by a single vote – 17-to-16, with Republican Dale Schultz voting with all of the Democrats against the budget.
Jason Stein covers state politics for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He says some changes occurred fairly late in the process, which delayed the bill's passage. Still he says that's not unusual for a budget.
Stein says Governor Walker has until June 30th to utilize his partial veto powers which “are the most powerful in the country or close to that," which he says could result in very significant changes in the impact of the bill.
Jason Stein is also co-author, with Patrick Marley, of the book More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin.