MADISON - The Wisconsin State Senate has approved the two-year budget proposal that was passed a day earlier by the State Assembly, with two local senators voting against the measure.
The $81 billion budget heads to Gov. Tony Evers who could sign it into law, veto it or use a partial veto to make changes.
Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, voted against the budget saying the GOP-crafted plan failed to address "key priorities" identified by Evers. Ringhand took issue with the Legislature failing to address the state's so-called "Dark Store" property tax issue, while also pinning the state's transportation needs "solely on the wallets of Wisconsin residents."
"We should have used this budget to invest more in our local classrooms, increase access to affordable health coverage and ensure that everyone in Wisconsin has clean drinking water," Ringhand said. "Instead, the Republicans prioritized tax breaks for the richest people in Wisconsin while protecting corporate welfare."
Ringhand and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, were part of a bipartisan group of legislators who voted no on the state budget. Nass has been an outspoken critic of this year's budget process, calling the current proposal "the most horrible document offered in three decades."
Nass said he voted against the budget due to it creating a $1.4 billion structural deficit at the start of the next budget period, and generates a net statewide property tax increase of about 3%, what Nass says "will be one of the largest increases in property taxes over the last decade."
"My Republican colleagues have unfortunately crafted a budget document filled with excessive and unsustainable spending levels," Nass said. "It is a budget developed based on spin and fails to live up to our conservative fiscal principles that had been the hallmark of Wisconsin Republicans since 2011."
Evers has yet to signal how he might act on the proposal that's divided the Legislature along party lines.