- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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

2:45 p.m.

One of the state Assembly’s top Republicans says he expects GOP leaders probably will meet again next week to hash out their differences on the state budget.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Gov. Scott Walker met on Wednesday in Walker’s office. Steineke told reporters that no substantial negotiations took place. He said Senate Republicans plan to meet Thursday to discuss the budget. He says GOP leaders will wait to see what comes out of that meeting and likely get together again early next week.

Fitzgerald spokeswoman Myranda Tanck confirmed Senate Republicans planned to caucus Thursday morning. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson says the governor plans to have ongoing discussions with legislators.

Assembly and Senate Republicans are at loggerheads on how to pay for road work and how much money to give public schools.


2:30 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says if Wisconsin get tolls roads they should be focused on the state’s border with other states like Illinois to mainly affect drivers coming from out of state.

Walker said Wednesday that tolling “is not something I’m pushing” but if it were to happen he’d want to limit it to access points on the state line, particularly from Illinois where they are used to paying tolls. Walker says he’d also want to see the gas tax cut, but the total amount would not have to be equal to what the state would bring in through tolling.

Republican lawmakers have been discussing tolling as an option to help bring in more money for Wisconsin’s transportation budget. But tolling would require federal approval so Walker says “there’s no way” it could not happen in time to help the current budget.


2:15 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says he remains confident that progress is being made on reaching a budget deal with fellow Republicans.

Walker met privately Wednesday with Republican legislative leaders and emerged to say he doesn’t think they’re that far apart. He says it’s “not a night and day different out there.”

He says the debate is over how much more to spend on schools, how much to lower property taxes and whether to raise taxes and fees to pay for roads. Assembly Republicans unveiled an alternative K-12 school funding plan on Tuesday, which Walker and Senate Republican leaders oppose.

Walker says he still thinks a budget deal can be reached close to when the current one ends on June 30. If there is no deal, spending continues at current levels.


1:30 p.m.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ spokeswoman says he didn’t attend a meeting with Gov. Scott Walker on the state budget because he’s in Washington.

Walker met Wednesday in his office with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. Vos said Tuesday he would negotiate over the budget at any time anywhere but he didn’t attend the meeting.

Steineke says the meeting centered on both houses’ broad positions and if serious negotiations were going to take place Vos would be on a plane back to Wisconsin immediately.

Vos’ spokeswoman Kit Beyer says he is in Washington making a presentation at a National Conference of State Legislatures event.


12:20 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is talking with legislative leaders as Republicans continue to be stalled in their budget negotiations.

Walker met Wednesday in his office with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Tuesday he was willing to negotiate over the budget “at any time, any place, anywhere” but he was not at the meeting with Walker.

Vos’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message asking why Vos missed the meeting.

Vos and Assembly Republicans are touting an alternative K-12 education plan that Fitzgerald rejected on Tuesday. Walker is also sticking by his original plan, which spends $649 million more on K-12 schools. The Assembly plan would spend about $70 million less, but supporters say more money would go to the classroom.


9:57 a.m.

The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee will not be meeting this week.

That’s another sign of the ongoing stalemate between Republicans who control both the Senate and Assembly. They continue to disagree on major parts of the budget including education, roads and taxes. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said on Monday that if the budget committee didn’t meet on Thursday “we’re in a rougher spot than I thought we were.”

The committee last met a week ago. It’s not unprecedented for the committee to reach a roadblock like this.

Just two years ago, again under complete Republican control, the panel took a five-week break from voting before finally passing its budget plan on July 3. The full Legislature approved it a week later.

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