Wisconsin legislature approves Foxconn deal, sends to Gov. Walker for signature

16 September, 2017, 01:15 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Wisconsin legislature approves Foxconn deal, sends to Gov. Walker for signature

The budget passed 57-39 with state Reps. The Senate must pass an identical document before it can go to Gov. Scott Walker's desk. That put the pressure on Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to secure the needed votes without making any changes.

The Republican-controlled Assembly was expected to pass the measure Thursday afternoon, sending it to Gov. Scott Walker. The budget was due July 1 but Republicans spent the summer quarreling among themselves over how to pay for roads before finally arriving at a plan to delay projects, borrow $400 million more and increase registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles by $100. They are Nass, of Whitewater, David Craig, of Town of Vernon, Chris Kapenga of Delafield and Duey Stroebel of Saukville.

If all Senate Democrats vote against the budget, Fitzgerald would need 17 Republican senators to vote for it. Nass, Stroebel and Kapenga have given Fitzgerald a list of amendments they want, including expanding the state's voucher school program, blocking the University of Wisconsin System from spending $4 million on diversity training and moving up repeal of prevailing wage laws from September 2018 to January. Right now, the most a family can earn and still qualify is 185 percent of the poverty level, or almost $45,000 for a family of four.

The state Assembly is planning a final vote Thursday on the bill that would make $2.85 billion available to Foxconn in cash payments if it invests $10 billion and hires 13,000 workers. Both are sought by Republican senators who say they're not ready to pass the budget.

"This whole series of suppliers that we met with will be overall a net gain to the state of Wisconsin because they'll be coming in and investing and employing people and we presume that the biggest incentive will be, providing the fact that Foxconn will be there", Walker said Wednesday in a call with reporters.

The vote could be delayed to Saturday or beyond if Republicans can't convince one of the holdouts to change their position.

Vos says the three senators are holding the state "hostage" for their pet projects.

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Republicans responded by casting Democratic opposition to the deal as knee-jerk resistance to Walker, who negotiated the Foxconn deal.

"We don't even know if the Senate can pass this budget, it's so bad", Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca said.

The budget was supposed to be done July 1, but Republicans spent the summer quarreling among themselves over how to best fund roads in the face of a almost $1 billion shortfall in the state's transportation fund.

Foxconn says it also plans to "make use of the extensive supply chain in the state".

"When you strike a deal, you strike a deal - which is what we have already done", Vos said Thursday.

"All of us can walk away saying if the Legislature does nothing else this session we have accomplished our most important task", Vos said.

Republicans have touted the budget as full of good news, pointing to a almost 6 percent increase in funding for K-12 schools, a tuition freeze at UW campuses and a small property tax cut.

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