July 11, 2017
[Madison, Wisc...] As of Tuesday afternoon, members of the Senate Republican Caucus are all on the same page, according to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's office, and the challenge is to now maintain that unity while building consensus with the Assembly and Governor.
"There's relative agreement in our caucus and our members are actively working to get the budget passed," Fitzgerald spokeswoman Myranda Tanck told MacIver News.
The caucus met Tuesday morning to finalize its policy positions for the remaining items of the budget not yet addressed by the Joint Committee on Finance. Those include transportation and K-12 education. Transportation seems to have dominated the meeting, which concluded shortly after noon.
Fitzgerald's challenge involves getting a budget deal all his members can agree on, that Assembly Republicans will support, and that the governor won't veto. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans agreed to reduce bonding from their previous $850 million goal, reject any tax or fee increases, and keep the I-94 east west megaproject on track. Key to this plan will be realizing the tens of millions of dollars in savings identified by the Legislative Audit Bureau in its report on the state highway program.
Fitzgerald plans to present the details of this position to Governor Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos tomorrow at their weekly budget meeting. Last week, Walker sent a letter to Fitzgerald and Vos concerning his plan to reduce bonding, and Fitzgerald hopes to get more information about that tomorrow.