Eau Claire (WQOW)- After hours of debate and a prolonged vote, the State Senate approved the budget by a slim 17 to 16 margin just after midnight. Dozens of amendments were proposed by Democrats, but all of them were tabled by Republicans. WQOW spoke with Governor Scott Walker about the budget Friday.
Governor Walker visited Philips Plastics in Eau Claire and spoke about the budget just hours after it was approved by the State Senate.
"Nearly a billion dollars in tax-relief, more money for schools, tuition freezes in the UW-System, more money for public safety, for public health for key priorities in the state; I think all in all, it's a very positive budget," says the governor.
It would also increase the school voucher program in the state and reject a federal expansion of Medicaid. Democrats in the State Assembly decided not to push for any amendments and the budget was voted through quickly.
"The State Assembly was a little surprising to me," points out Governor Walker. "That hadn't happened at least in my memory in a long time.
But that wasn't the case in the State Senate where after 12 hours of debate and dozens of proposed amendments. A final vote wasn't taken until 12:01 Friday morning.
"The State Senate is more reflective of where things have been in regards to whether it is Democrats or Republicans in charge," exclaims the governor. "I think the one senator Republican that voted no is the same one who voted no against Act 10 so that doesn't surprise me."
The $70 billion spending plan now heads to his desk, where he will still have the final say on changes if he decides to exercise his line-item veto powers.
"I started working even yesterday in the capitol with our budget staff. I gave them assignments yesterday of areas I wanted to do more follow-up on," says Walker. "Many of the areas will probably be technical issues, looking at the way amendments were drafted even in the past week to make sure that they reflect what our belief in what the budget should be. But by and large, I'm pleased."
The governor says he hopes to finish looking over the budget and sign it into law by July 1st.
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