Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington), and Joint Finance Committee (JFC) Co-Chairs Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) today announced at a Capitol press conference that they have reached a deal on a budget that the JFC will meet to consider tomorrow (Thursday) at 10 AM. (A final JFC vote is not expected until late tomorrow afternoon or evening at the earliest.)
The GOP leadership in both houses has reached agreement on transportation funding as well as removing the financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena and changes to the prevailing wage law from the budget.
The transportation package includes $500 million in bonding with another $350 million in bonding to be set aside so the JFC can issue it as the Department of Transportation submits requests for work. That would still be a significant reduction from the $1.3 billion in borrowing Gov. Scott Walker proposed in his original budget.
After the JFC takes the final votes on the budget tomorrow, the Assembly is expected to take up the bill Tuesday or Wednesday along with the prevailing wage bill. Sen. Fitzgerald said he hoped to be in for a vote on the budget next week as well, if the budget bill clears the Assembly, but also made clear he was still working with his caucus on getting the votes needed to pass the budget bill.
Under the agreement reached by the GOP leadership, the Assembly will bring to the floor next week a bill introduced in that chamber to fully repeal the prevailing wage. However, Assembly Republicans will then offer an amendment to the bill that reflects a package Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) has put together. It would repeal the prevailing wage statutes for school districts and local governments as well as “federalize” prevailing wage determinations for state work.
The Assembly would then pass both the budget bill and the prevailing wage bill and send them to the Senate. The Senate will act first on the proposal to provide public funds for a Bucks arena likely next week, with Capitol rumors suggesting a public hearing on the plan could take place perhaps as soon as Monday or Tuesday.