Budget Momentum Or More Fits And Starts?

posted by Matt Kittle - 

The Wisconsin State Capitol building on

By M.D. Kittle

There is momentum.

That's how state Rep. Dale Kooyenga describes the heavy lifting that's left on the state's 2017-19 budget - due in 10 days.

The Brookfield Republican, a member of the Legislature's budget committee, said the sticking point remains transportation.

"That's a whole different story," Kooyenga told MacIver News Service Tuesday morning during an interview on the Dan O'Donnell Show on NewsTalk 1130 WISN in Milwaukee. "There are pretty significant differences between the governor and the Assembly, and we're trying to figure out where the Senate is at."

"I think the rest of the budget is probably good to move forward pretty fast. I could be wrong on that," he added.

It has in recent weeks been a budget process of fits and starts. As of late Tuesday, it was not clear whether the Joint Finance Committee would meet this week. Republican leadership from both houses did meet Tuesday, sources say.

The trouble, sources say, is on the education front. In recent days it seemed the Assembly and Senate were coming to terms on an education budget, but there remain differences on spending.

Capitol insiders tell MacIver News that Assembly leadership is sticking to a plan to issue laptops or tablets to all high school freshman. The initiative is expected to cost $10 million, according to sources.

The Assembly rolled out the plan in September as part of its "Forward Agenda."

At the time, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said, "Every single student should have the opportunity to have that same access to technology, be they someone who's poor in the inner city or wealthy in the suburbs." He said there would be no income threshold tied to the initiative.

Sources say fiscal hawks in the Senate are not sold on the idea.

Photo: Getty Images

Read more of this story at the MacIver Institute:

Matt Kittle

Matt Kittle

Matt Kittle is a fill-in host for WIBA and WISN who is an investigative journalist for the MacIver Insititute Read more

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