By M.D. Kittle and Bill Osmulski
Senate Republicans caucused Tuesday. Assembly leadership planned a road trip. And the Joint Finance Committee may meet next week - but then again, it might not.
Such is the rift, sources say, in Republican budget land between the Assembly and the Senate and Gov. Scott Walker and the Assembly.
JFC co-chairwoman, Sen. Alberta Darling, said the Senate Finance Committee continues to meet and work through the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's agency documents - "everything but transportation and taxes." Nobody seemingly wants to touch the mess that is transportation, even as Walker tours Department of Transportation roadside projects doing his best Larry the Cable Guy in urging lawmakers to, "Get it done." The "it," of course, is the state biennial budget.
Talk of lawmakers breaking out transportation from the full state budget isn't sitting well with Walker, who asserts his transpo plan will do just fine, thank you very much. The Assembly has put forward alternative transportation and education proposals. The Senate is standing by Walker's education plan and, it appears, the governor's budget blueprint in general.
"The Senate remains committed to fully funding K-12 education that Governor Walker proposed in his administrative budget," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement Tuesday following the official release of the Assembly education plan.
"We will continue to look for ways to support low spending districts, but a proposal that raises property taxes and picks winners and losers within our school districts is a move away from the position of both the Governor and the Senate Republican caucus," the Juneau Republican said. "The Assembly package that was endorsed today is simply not the direction that the budget is headed."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos offered an olive branch and marching orders - "Children Go Where I Send Thee" style.
"I know Gov. Walker can be flexible when good ideas are put out there, and that's why I think it's important for us to go and talk about this plan," the Rochester Republican said Tuesday at a press conference, surrounded by Assembly Republicans.
The Assembly GOP education plan would trim about $70 million from Walker's very generous ed spending package while raising revenue limits for lower-spending school districts.
Photo: Getty Images
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