- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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

1:45 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is sticking to his pledge to make a huge investment in schools and lower property taxes in the state budget despite fierce pushback from Assembly Republicans that threatens to delay the spending plan.

The Assembly Republicans want to give schools about $90 million less than Walker has proposed and allow lower-spending districts to make that up with higher property taxes.

Walker has pledged to keep property taxes lower over the next two years than they were in 2014. Senate Republicans are siding with Walker, creating an impasse as the July 1 budget deadline looms.

Walker told reporters Tuesday in Lake Delton that his two budget priorities remain providing an “historic” investment in schools and lowering property taxes.

He seemed unconcerned with the Republican rift, saying lawmakers still have several weeks to negotiate.


1:25 p.m.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’s not concerned with having a budget deal in place before the current one runs out in 24 days.

And he said Tuesday “there is absolutely no reason to make threats” about the Senate and Assembly passing separate budgets.

Fellow Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Monday floated passing separate budgets as a possibility. The Senate and Assembly haven’t reached deals on transportation, education or tax cuts.

Vos says that has never happened when one party controls both chambers of the Legislature. He says he’s not feeling time pressure to reach a deal.

Vos says, “if it takes us longer to find the right answer, that’s OK.”


12:55 p.m.

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is rejecting an education-funding plan offered by fellow Republicans in the Assembly.

Fitzgerald said Tuesday that he is committed to the plan put forward by Gov. Scott Walker and says the Assembly proposal “is simply not the direction that this budget is headed.”

The Assembly proposal would allow low-spending districts to increase property taxes and make numerous other changes from what Walker proposed.

Assembly budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren calls the plan a starting point for negotiations with the Senate. And Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the governor and Senate should be open to ideas that improve the budget.


11:15 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker’s pledge to keep property taxes lower over the next two years than they were in 2014 could prove to be a major roadblock in reaching a state budget deal.

Walker is sticking by the pledge, promising to make vetoes to follow through on the campaign promise to lower property taxes on the median-valued home. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Monday said the Senate is “locked in” to fulfill the governor’s pledge.

Assembly Republicans were to introduce a K-12 education spending plan Tuesday that could result in property taxes going up about $11 each of the next two years beyond where they were in 2014. Budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren says meeting the governor’s campaign pledge “seems to be the center of the biggest difference.”

9:41 a.m.

Wisconsin Assembly Republicans plan to release an alternative education-funding plan that breaks with what Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Republicans have backed.

It is one of several issues holding up reaching a deal on the two-year, $76 billion state budget. The current budget runs through June 30 but state spending will continue at current levels if a new budget isn’t enacted by then.

Assembly Republicans planned to discuss their education proposal on Tuesday. An earlier version of the plan would have spent about $90 million less than Walker proposed in aid for schools, but lower-spending districts could make that up with higher property taxes.

Walker has threatened to veto the entire budget if property taxes go up beyond what they were in 2014 on a median-valued home.

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