State Assembly budget floor debate goes on

State Assembly budget floor debate goes on

The Wisconsin Assembly is still debating the state budget.

Republicans who control the chamber agreed to give Democrats 12 hours to debate the spending plan Wednesday before voting. Debate began at noon and was still going at 6 p.m. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke told reporters he expects debate will go on until midnight.

Democrats took turns ripping the $76 billion budget. They insisted the spending plan helps the wealthy rather than the working poor, is rigged against the middle class and doesn’t provide a long-term solution for road funding.

Republicans defended the budget, saying it increases funding for public schools, freezes University of Wisconsin System tuition and demonstrates the GOP is working for the people of the state, not for government.

Three Senate Republicans withholding their support for the state budget have developed a detailed list of demands, including expanding the state’s voucher school program and prohibiting the University of Wisconsin System from spending money on cultural training.

Sens. Steve Nass, Duey Stroebel and Chris Kapenga have put together a memo outlining their demands.

Among them: raise the income eligibility limit for the statewide voucher program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; block the UW System from spending $4 million on “cultural fluency” training for students and faculty; require a local referendum to impose a wheel tax; and move up the repeal of the state’s prevailing wage from September 2018 to Jan. 1.