WI Budget Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Governor's Desk

When is an $83.58 billion biennial budget “table scraps?” Crumbs?

In the bizarro world of legislative liberals, of course.

The Wisconsin State Senate narrowly passed an $81 billion biennial budget on Wednesday 17-16, sending the bill to Governor Tony Evers' desk. The passed version of the budget eliminated many of the proposed budget items laid out by Evers.

Drafted and passed earlier this month by the GOP-led Joint Finance Committee (JFC), the GOP plan comes with a whopping $81.67 billion in all-funds spending, plus $1.91 billion in bonding authorization for state capital projects, for a grand total of $83.58 billion for the biennium. Evers’ tally in all-funds spending hits $83.8 billion, with another $2.44 billion in bonding — for a total of $86.2 billion.

Under the JFC plan, General Purpose Revenue (GPR) spending will increase to $36.7 billion in the biennium, increasing spending from the prior base year doubled by 6 percent or $2.1 billion, but cutting Evers’ proposal by 1.8 percent or nearly $696 million.

In total, the budget proposal pumps in$665 million moreover current spending levels for K-12 education, hundreds of millions of dollars more for transportation, and a boatload of new bonding for maintenance and construction of state government buildings.

In Madison math, which uses a base year doubled method, the 2019-21 budget package spends $6.25 billion more than 2017-19’s base. But in real dollars, the new document would spend $7.1 billion, or 9.3 percent more.

Republicans say their budget funds the priorities that Evers laid out but does so without breaking the bank. Yet, their proposal comes with a $1.4 billion structural shortfall. Evers’ budget plan posts a nearly $2 billion deficit.

But it’s not enough for Democrats, who spent the better part of 10 hours of Assembly floor debate bemoaning the Republican budget for delivering what Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) characterized as “just a few table scraps.” The majority’s budget stands at nearly $2.1 billion less than than the “liberal wish list” Evers rolled out four months ago.

Read more at the MacIver Institute

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