Assembly Passes Budget; Now it Goes to Doyle

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The state Assembly passed a revised state budget bill Tuesday night, and now it goes to the governor.

The Assembly signed off on changes the Senate made to the budget to create a new tax credit for those who adopt, force some state employees to pay into retirement funds and cut an additional one million dollars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The vote of 52-to-43 added those changes to a budget that also would phase out the state's tax on Social Security benefits, cut the gas tax by a penny and restrict property tax increases over the next three years.

The budget now goes to Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, who can approve it, veto portions of it or reject the entire document.

Democratic state Representative Mark Pocan of Madison dismissed the Senate changes as a "bar-time amendment" concocted by majority Republicans in the middle of the night last week to "purchase" the final two votes needed as that chamber approved the budget 17-to-16.

He chided the Assembly, also controlled by Republicans, for going along with the changes, saying they would hurt the public, state employees and Wisconsin troops.

Assembly Speaker John Gard of Peshtigo says he doesn't like the Senate changes, either, dismissing them as gimmicks crafted to appease two Republican senators.

But he says the heart of the budget -- property tax limits and cuts to the taxes on Social Security benefits and gas -- remained intact and that outweighed the negatives.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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