“Deliberate nastiness:” Wisconsin Senate discusses opposing views on state budget bill

MADISON -- The republican majority needs 17 votes out of their 20 senators to approve the $76-billion spending plan that was due on back on July 1st. As of Friday morning, September 15th, they were one short. But Senator Luther Olsen said there are now 19 people on board.

Meanwhile, Democrats remain vocal in their opposition to the bill.

On Friday afternoon, Senate Democrats took turns offering several amendments to the state budget. Arguing that in its current form, the bill unfairly benefits the wealthy.

Lena Taylor

"What only seems like deliberate nastiness in the budget to Milwaukee," State Senator Lena Taylor said.

"You're more willing to help the foreign billionaire with no ties to the state than help the people who could really help grow the economy," State Senator Dave Hansen said.

Dave Hansen

Republicans have so far rejected each proposed change, but that doesn't mean they're all on the same page. Earlier this week, three conservative senators issued a list of demands to get their votes including nearly doubling the income eligibility for the statewide voucher school system.

"These things aren't out in left field. These are concepts we've discussed. We've talked about," Duey Strobel from Saukville said.

Robin Vos

The assembly signed off on the budget Wednesday night, September 13 and Republican Speaker Robin Vos pledged he would not return to vote again. On Thursday, September 14th he compared the list of demands to a "ransom list."

"You don't hold people hostage for an individual item that you weren't successful in convincing your caucus to go along with," Vos said.

The bill must pass both chambers in identical form before it goes to the governor for his signature.