State Budget Stalled in Senate

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: The Assembly passed the Republican version of the budget June 22. A week later the Senate still has not scheduled a time for its own floor debate and passage.

With a 19-14 majority, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and still pass the budget. There are rumors that at least two and maybe as many as five Republicans have said they won't vote for the budget...

Despite these rumors, Majority Leader Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) says he is confident. "At this point I don't know where the votes lie. I am hopeful we will garner the 17 votes by July 1st and we'll be able to pass it."

Senate Republicans have been meeting behind closed doors in Caucus, trying to find the 17 votes needed to pass this budget. Right now they don't have them, and Republicans have been told to be prepared to stay through the holiday weekend if necessary.

"We will work diligently at it and we will put aside any other business in our personal lives or professional lives to work towards that goal," says Sen. Schultz.

Democrats say they would support the budget if any of their seven bundles of amendments were passed. But so much for bipartisan compromise, Senator Schultz says he's not reaching out to Democrats.

"I have not talked to a single Democrat about the possibility of voting for this budget," says Sen. Schultz.

And without more funding for public education, Democrats won't be reaching back. "Absolutely, the Senate Democrats are rock solid. We will not be supporting a budget that hurts our children and hurts property taxpayers," says Minority Leader Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit).

If the Senate's version of the budget is different than the one passed in the Assembly, the two sides will have to work out the differences in committee.

Governor Doyle has already said he will use his partial veto powers to add funding to education, and if he can't do that, he'll veto the whole thing.

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