Assembly Passes State Budget Bill; Senate Support Uncertain

The state Assembly passed the state budget bill late last night on a vote of 57-39 with all Democrats and five Republicans (Reps. Scott Allen of Waukesha, Janel Brandtjen of Menomonee Falls, Bob Gannon of West Bend, Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake and Joe Sanfelippo of New Berlin) voting NO on the bill.

The bill now goes to the state Senate where a Friday vote is planned even though they are currently short of the 17 needed votes to pass it.  According to Jason Stein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Those holdouts are reportedly: Senators Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon), Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville).

According to The Wheeler Report and Wispolitics, among the wishlist of changes wanted by Sens. Kapenga, Nass and Stroebel include the following provisions that impact K-12 education:

  • Increase the income eligibility threshold for the statewide voucher program to 300% of federal poverty level (the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) raised the income cap to 220%).
  • Include school referenda restrictions from Senate GOP plan:
    • Rescinding of Previously Passed Referenda:  Specify that a school board may reduce its revenue limit by adopting a resolution to rescind all or a portion of any increase to a district’s revenue limit approved by an operating referendum.  The resolution must specify the first school year for which the reduction in the revenue limits applies.
    • Exclude Shared Costs Attributable to Referenda from Equalization Aid Calculation: Specify that, for the purpose of determining shared costs under the equalization aid formula, any amount levied by a school district in the prior year for only operating costs (debt service was included in the Senate GOP plan but was removed here) that were authorized by a referendum that was held after the effective date of the bill would be excluded from shared costs, if the result of excluding the amount does not increase the equalization aid for the district.  See more on impact of this item here.
  • Repeal the energy efficiency revenue limit exemption (The JFC included a one year moratorium on usage of the exemption).

The WASB opposes inserting any of these provisions into the budget.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told the media yesterday that the Assembly is not coming back to take up any changes to the budget after passing it last night. He was critical of the three Senators holding out for more changes before they would vote in support.

The WASB is monitoring the situation as we prepare our veto requests for Gov. Walker.