Wisconsin Senate passes state budget, now heads to Gov. Evers' desk

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MADISON (AP) -- Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate have narrowly approved the state budget.

The $81 billion two-year spending plan now goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who can sign the budget into law, veto it in its entirety or use his partial veto powers to revise it.

The Legislature's Republican-controlled finance committee eliminated a host of Evers' policy proposals from the budget, including a Medicaid expansion, legalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage. The committee inserted an income tax plan, gave schools $500 million rather than the $1.4 billion Evers had allocated and continued a University of Wisconsin System tuition freeze.

The Senate approved the budget 17-16 Wednesday. The GOP included last-minute provisions in the document to allow electric car manufacturer Tesla to open dealerships in Wisconsin to ensure Sen. Chris Kapenga's vote.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released a statement, saying that “When Governor Evers started the budget process in February, he asked Republicans in the Legislature to make advancements in funding education, health care, and infrastructure. We did just that while sticking to our conservative principles. This budget funds schools with more actual dollars than ever before, makes significant investments in health care, and fixes our local roads. This is a good budget."

UW System President Ray Cross also issued this statement: “The budget passed by the legislature makes a significant long-term investment in our campus infrastructure that will benefit students, our faculty, and the state for years to come.

Cross added, saying "I thank Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Speaker Vos, and their respective caucuses for their leadership in moving these projects forward."

“I also thank Governor Evers for his steadfast commitment to the University of Wisconsin System during the budget process, and everyone who continues to advocate for a strong UW System budget," Cross said in the statement.