LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Republicans say the bill is a responsible plan to balance a three billion dollar budget shortfall. Democrats say it unfairly targets the middle class along with major cuts to education while protecting tax cuts for corporations and investors.
Thus far Democrats have little cause to celebrate anything with this budget while Republicans are finding minimal resistance to passage of the $66 billion dollar spending plan.
Governor Scott Walker has promised the two-year budget will not raise taxes. State Representative Jennifer Shilling (D - La Crosse) said that's not true. She said this budget increases the tax burden on middle-class families by $70 million dollars.
"Be it the earned income tax credit or through the homestead tax credit, those will certainly be changes that low-income, working families or seniors will see on their tax burden," Shilling said. "The Republicans talk about no tax increases, but our fiscal bureau says there are about $70 million in tax increases."
However, State Senator Dan Kapanke (R - La Crosse) maintains the fiscal responsibility of this plan.
"At the end of this two year budget there's a projected surplus," said Kapanke. "That's the first time in many years that is projected, so you can pick this budget apart. I have not seen a budget that's perfect in my six and a half years here--none of them are, but this is the best budget that we could put forth under the circumstances that we're dealing with."
The assembly introduced about 50 amendments during its budget sessions including two amendments suggested by representative Steve Doyle (D - Onalaska): one removing a provision that would eliminate WiscNet--the Internet network for schools and libraries.
That amendment did not go to a vote. Republicans instead passed a similar measure that assures WiscNet will remain intact for two more years.
The assembly also added state transit workers to the list of those not affected by the governor's collective bargaining law. That list also includes police and firefighters.
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