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Bucks arena & prevailing wage out of state budgetSubmitted: 07/01/2015
MADISON - Republican lawmakers announced Wednesday that a new Milwaukee Bucks arena and prevailing wage proposal would be removed from the state budget.

In a morning meeting in the Senate parlor, Republican leaders told reporters that the goal of the move was to get the budget out the state's Joint Finance Committee.

The state Assembly plans on voting on a state budget and a standalone prevailing wage proposal next week.

Transportation funding had also been a barrier to any type of budget movement in May. Gov. Scott Walker had proposed borrowing $1.3 billion to pay for construction projects in Wisconsin. However, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said the state will instead borrow $500 million in bonding to pay for projects.

"We are also going to include money in there to do a study on looking for other potential revenue sources," Vos said. "Some of those things could be tolling, that's one possible option. But we want to at least look to the future and say, what are the options for us to at least figure out a long term strategy to not rely on bonding?"

The Joint Finance Committee will also sit on $350 million more which may go towards road projects that the committee can approve as the Department of Transportation brings them forward. However, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says he's not sure how that process will exactly work.

Democrats called the move a mistake.

"They had a finance [meeting] just a month ago, we need to come to some resolution," Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said. "They are kicking a bigger can down a longer road, increasingly filled with potholes."
Fitzgerald says he doesn't have the votes right now to get the budget passed, but he doesn't seem too worried.

"The announcement today is that the joint finance committee is finalizing their actions, and there is always maneuvers that have to be made after that to try and make sure you have certainly the votes for any of those products," Fitzgerald said. "I guess that's what I am trying to say."

State agencies aren't closed because of the budget delay. They'll run at their current funding levels until a new budget gets passed.


Story By: Adam Fox

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