Senate Approves State Budget

The State Senate by an 18 to 15 vote approved the $73 billion state budget late last night. It will go to the State Assembly today and could be sent to the Governor before the end of the week. Funding for public schools remain the same in the first year of the budget, but will increase by $69 million in the second year. The cap on private school vouchers is being gradually lifted over a 10 year period. There also will be special needs vouchers. Borrowing for the State Transportation projects is being reduced by $350 million from what the Governor proposed. The funding for the UW-System will be cut by $250 million. An effort to cut $100 million from the SeniorCare program was rejected. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says, “We looked towards the future by refusing to allow our state’s borrowing to swell to unmanageable levels.” Democratic State Senator Chris Larson says, “Tonight, Tea Party legislators again returned to their failed slash and burn policies that are bankrupting opportunity in our state and decimating our middle class.” State Senator Rick Gudex says, “There are some excellent initiatives in this budget that will keep Wisconsin moving towards a brighter future.” The Senate also narrowly approved changes to the prevailing wage.