budget

NateBeal via Wiki Commons

There are two Amtrak routes that run through Wisconsin - the Hiawatha, which carries passengers between Milwaukee and Chicago; and the Empire Builder, which transects the state as it makes its way from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest.  President Trump's proposed budget would eliminate the Empire Builder, and that - say rail advocates - would put the Hiawatha at risk, as well.

Althouse

State lawmakers on the budget writing committee Thursday rejected Gov. Walker’s proposed switch to a self-insurance model for state employees. Instead, the panel came up with other ways to save money. One of those methods likely would lead to an increase in health care premiums for state workers.

Justin W Kern

State budget talks have stalled in Madison, as has happened in the past. Wisconsin lawmakers hope to pass a two-year spending plan by June 30, but it appears unlikely.

The biggest problem the state faces is a $1 billion hole in its transportation budget; Gov. Walker and fellow Republicans who control the Legislature differ on how to plug it. The state collects money through its gas tax and vehicle registration fee. The state gas tax is 31 cents per gallon, while the registration fee is $75 per vehicle.

ADELIE FREYJA ANNABEL, FLICKR

Wisconsin lawmakers are deciding whether to reward UW System schools based on how they perform. And experts say the idea has its share of pros and cons.

Bob Bach

How to pay for roads? It’s a question states across the country are struggling with, including in Wisconsin. While some Republicans are pushing for all revenue options to be on the table, Governor Walker has said he will not raise taxes, including the gas tax, unless there’s a corresponding decline somewhere else in the budget. 

Thursday, some members of the GOP may unveil a new transportation funding scheme. It involves placing a sales tax on gasoline, flattening the income tax and moving away from the state’s Great Depression-era minimum mark-up law.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET.

With the clock ticking, Congress on Friday managed to fulfill its basic function — keeping the federal government running.

The House and Senate approved a short-term measure that funds the government for another week. Lawmakers voted hours ahead of a midnight deadline to avoid a partial shutdown of federal agencies.

Friday's extension gives members of Congress more time — until midnight on May 5 — to try to reach a deal on a spending bill that will last through the rest of fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, would put off the deadline to May 5.

Congress returns Tuesday from its spring recess, facing yet another down-to-the-wire spate of deal-making — and a White House anxious to claim its first major legislative win.

On Friday night, the funding measure lawmakers approved last year to keep the federal government running will expire. The timing leaves members of the House and Senate just four days to reach a new agreement to fund the government, or risk a partial shutdown of federal agencies on Saturday — the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency.

Rachel Morello

For the first time in quite a few years, Wisconsin classrooms stand to gain additional money from the state -- and public school advocates want to make sure it happens.

Hundreds of folks showed up to speak their minds at a public hearing Wednesday in Milwaukee, including a strong contingent of parents and teachers.

People came armed with numbers to the hearing the Joint Finance committee conducted on Gov. Walker's proposed budget for the state for the next two years. And many wanted to testify about health care issues.

Carl Lock of Brookfield told the legislators that many Wisconsinites suffered when the governor, a few years ago, rejected federal money to allow people earning up 133% of the poverty line to take part in Medicaid programs. Instead, Walker moved all people living above poverty off the state’s low-income health care program, BadgerCare, and into the federal marketplace.

Paul Sablema, flickr

State lawmakers will have their first official chance to weigh in on Gov. Walker's 2017-2019 spending plan on Tuesday, when the Joint Finance committee kicks-off a series of budget briefings.

JR Ross, editor WisPolitics.com, says he expects several areas of contention between the governor and Legislature, even among fellow Republicans. Ross predicts the biggest fights will be over Gov. Walker's plans for transportation, self-insurance for state employees and education funding.

Rachel Morello

Imagine someone hands you a bonus -- a few hundred extra dollars. How would you spend the money? That’s a question facing Wisconsin school districts.

Walker
WHITNEY CURTIS/GETTY IMAGES

During his budget address Wednesday, Governor Walker said his budget prioritizes student success and accountable government, and rewards work. The governor also tucked nearly $600 million in tax cuts over the next two years into his plan. 

READ: Gov. Walker's 2017-19 Proposed Budget

Ann Althouse, flickr

There’s disagreement among state Republicans over some items that Gov. Walker will likely propose in his budget Wednesday. Gov. Walker has indicated that he will call for more funding for K-12 schools, particularly in rural areas. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is pleased. He says many public schools have seen declining enrollment and it affects the amount of money the state sends them.

Micaela Martin

Milwaukee Democrats have unveiled their wish list for the next state budget as Gov. Walker prepares to deliver his Wednesday. The governor is expected to propose a fix for the transportation deficit and allocate more money for schools. Democrats say they hope to work with Republicans on some issues.

Yet, Dems are not happy with much of what Walker has already revealed about his proposed budget. Number one on Milwaukee Democrats’ list of priorities for the next state budget: jobs.

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