- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on Wisconsin budget negotiations (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker’s spokesman won’t confirm that the governor intends to seek 10-times the normal amount of money from the federal government to help solve a state budget impasse.

Tom Evenson on Thursday says the exact amount to be requested will be a part of “ongoing discussions we have with the Legislature.”

A memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says Walker’s administration may ask for $341 million in federal highway redistribution money. That is 10-times the $34 million the state has received each of the past five years.

Republicans and Democrats alike have questioned how much money the state could realistically expect from the federal government under Walker’s plan.


1:35 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker’s latest road-funding proposal is being met with skepticism from Republicans and indignation from Democrats.

Walker’s plan may hinge on the state getting 10-times-as-much money from the federal government as it does now.

Republican legislative leaders said Thursday they were trying to understand those details, while praising Walker for attempting to reach a budget deal.

But Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz says Walker’s plan is unrealistic and a sham. He released a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that indicates Walker may seek $341 million from the federal government for roads. That is 10-times what the state has gotten in recent years from the redistribution fund.

The memo also shows that road projects would be largely unaffected by the ongoing budget stalemate unless a new deal isn’t reached for three to six months.


12:45 p.m.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca is dismissing a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker designed to help solve Wisconsin’s roads funding impasse.

Barca reacted Thursday to Walker’s plan calling for more money from the federal government to help pay for roads. A memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau indicates the state may seek 10 times what it typically receives in federal redistribution money.

Barca calls Walker’s proposal “all smoke and mirrors.”

Barca says the Walker and the Legislature should prioritize investments in roads and schools. Democrats, and Assembly Republicans, have said they are in favor of raising gas taxes or other revenue to pay for roads.

But Walker and Senate Republicans oppose that.


12:30 p.m.

Wisconsin may request 10 times more than it traditionally gets in certain federal money for roads as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to end a state budget impasse.

Walker outlined a proposal to Republican leaders on Wednesday that includes seeking federal money to finance bonding to keep southeast Wisconsin interstate projects on schedule. A memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the state Department of Transportation may ask for $341 million.

In the past five years, the state has received an average of about $34 million in what is known as federal redistribution aid.

The memo also shows that most road projects wouldn’t be adversely affected by a delay in passing a new state budget for three months or more.


11:45 a.m.

Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker could be part of a solution to reaching a deal on road funding.

Fitzgerald said Thursday that he’s “all ears” when it comes to Walker’s proposal to borrow $200 million less and tap federal funding to finance borrowing to keep southeast Wisconsin interstate projects on course.

Walker made the offer Wednesday.

Fitzgerald says no one knows yet how much federal money may be available, but in recent years it’s only been around $35 million. He also says the $200 million in cost savings that Walker mentioned would also have to be verified.

But Fitzgerald says the plan “might be one piece of what gets us through the transportation budget.”

He says the key is not raising the gas tax or vehicle fees.


10:40 a.m.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Gov. Scott Walker is showing movement on budget talks that could potentially lead to a deal on road funding.

Vos reacted Thursday to a proposal Walker made in a letter Wednesday to Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Walker proposed lowering bonding to pay for roads by $200 million and using federal money to finance borrowing to pay for keeping mega-interstate projects on track.

How much to borrow has been a major sticking point in Republicans and Walker reaching a deal. Assembly Republicans have said it’s too much, while Senate Republicans have supported the $850 million amount and opposed raising taxes or fees.

Vos says Walker’s floating of the idea that there may be federal money available to lessen borrowing shows movement and he’s “patiently waiting” for the Senate to come forward with its ideas. Senate Republicans were meeting privately Thursday.


10:30 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker has put forward what he hopes is a compromise on state transportation funding that will lead to a budget deal in the Republican-controlled Legislature without raising gas taxes or vehicle fees.

Walker outlined the proposal in a letter to legislative Republican leaders on Wednesday. The Associated Press obtained the letter on Thursday.

Walker is proposing lowering borrowing to pay for roads by $200 million through cost savings and other administrative actions. He says ongoing road projects would not be delayed by such a move.

He’s also proposing contingency borrowing linked to additional federal money to pay for keeping mega-interstate projects on track.

Walker calls his plan a “reasonable proposal.”


10:15 a.m.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’s “patiently waiting” for ideas from fellow Republicans in the Senate about how to plug a nearly $1 billion transportation funding shortfall with less borrowing than they’ve proposed.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Senate Republicans meeting Thursday were going to talk about “scaling back” the $850 million in borrowing they have supported. He didn’t go into details about how much that might be reduced or what funding would take its place.

Fitzgerald says Senate Republicans remain opposed to gas tax or fee increases to pay for transportation as Vos and Assembly Republicans have floated. Vos says it’s irresponsible to borrow that much and he remains optimistic that Republicans will realize “it’s not conservative to borrow and spend.”


9:50 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Republican senators remain opposed to raising taxes or fees to plug a nearly $1 billion transportation shortfall that’s holding up passage of the Wisconsin state budget.

Fitzgerald called a meeting Thursday with fellow Republican senators and staff at the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau to review the budget. Fitzgerald says he doesn’t see any movement from senators to embrace higher taxes or fees as Assembly Republicans have proposed.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday called on transportation and business groups opposed to a fee on semitrailer trucks to come forward with other ideas for plugging the gap by Monday.

But Fitzgerald says the letter “didn’t make much sense” given the groups’ have already said they support a gas tax increase, which the Senate and Gov. Scott Walker oppose.


8:04 a.m.

Wisconsin’s Republican state senators are meeting privately as a deal to close a $1 billion transportation budget shortfall remains elusive.

Republican senators planned to meet Thursday, nearly a week after the GOP-controlled Legislature missed a June 30 deadline to pass a new budget. Spending continues at current levels while lawmakers work to pass a new spending plan.

Thursday’s meeting comes after five conservative senators rejected a proposal to impose a new fee on heavy trucks to help break the budget stalemate. On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called on groups that opposed that fee increase to come forward with other ideas by next week.

Vos also suggested a budget impasse delaying road construction projects could hurt the state’s attempt to lure electronics manufacturer Foxconn and potentially 10,000 jobs.

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