Gov. Walker puts out budget proposal - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Walker puts out budget proposal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

The Latest on Gov. Scott Walker's state budget proposal (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Governor Scott Walker is proposing a budget that includes a huge boost in funding for schools, sizable tuition cuts for college students and increased tax breaks for the working poor.

Walker released the budget Wednesday to the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The shift by the famously tightfisted Republican governor designed to position him for a third term in 2018. It also appeases his conservative base with more welfare reforms, elimination of the prevailing wage and nearly $600 million in tax cuts.

Walker says the budget makes "historic investments in our priorities."

Republican legislative leaders have been lukewarm to some of the biggest spending proposals, saying they want to see how they fit in with the larger budget.

2:30 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget would cut taxes and fees by $592 million, including $200 million in income tax cuts, eliminate the state portion of the property tax and create a sales tax holiday for back to school items.

Walker released details of his tax cuts Wednesday before presenting them to the Legislature.

Walker is calling for reducing the lowest two income tax rates by one-tenth of a percent.

Walker says the change will save a median income family of four $69 in the 2017 tax year.

Eliminating the state portion of the property tax amounts to about $90 million a year.

Walker estimates that property taxes will be flat or go down slightly over the next two years on the median-valued home.

11:35 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says his state budget will keep property taxes lower on the average home in 2018 that they were in 2010.

Walker released excerpts of his speech Wednesday on Twitter before he was to deliver his budget to the Legislature.

Walker says "our common-sense reforms" have resulted in a "significantly better budget outlook for the state." He says the state's rainy day fund will grow by $20 million under his budget.

Walker is proposing large spending increases for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System.

Democrats say Walker's budget is unrealistic and based on revenue projections that are overly optimistic.

Walker says in the excerpts that "we are working and winning for Wisconsin."

10:20 a.m.

Democrats say Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal that would boost funding for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System is unrealistic and an attempt for him to improve his popularity with voters before running for re-election.

Democrats spoke out against Walker's plan Wednesday hours before he was to introduce it.

Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach says Walker is choosing re-election over trying to find a long-term solution to the state's transportation funding shortfall. He says the budget is "more of an investment in Scott Walker's re-election than it is in we the people of Wisconsin."

And Sen. Lena Taylor says Walker knows the budget can't pass so he's leaving the dirty work of fixing it to the Legislature.

Republican legislative leaders have also been cautious in supporting Walker's larger spending proposals.

9:25 a.m.

Republican legislative leaders are showing where divisions will be with Gov. Scott Walker and his state budget proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting Wednesday that several large items will be the crux of where the Legislature compromises with Walker. He says those are K-12 schools funding, the University of Wisconsin and transportation funding. He says how welfare benefits are reworked will also be a major piece.

He and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have been lukewarm to several Walker proposals to boost spending on education and cut UW tuition. Vos also opposes the governor's refusal to consider raising revenue to pay for roads.

Vos says, "We are the co-equal of the governor. He gets to put the budget out but it's not like we just salute."

9:15 a.m.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he's willing to delay passage of the state budget into the fall in order to reach agreement on how to pay for highway projects and other transportation funding.

Vos said Wednesday at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting that a new approach to transportation funding must be found now before the next economic downturn. Vos and Assembly Republicans advocate raising transportation-related taxes and fees by $300 million and reducing other unnamed taxes by an equal amount.

But Gov. Scott Walker wants to delay projects and borrow more to deal with a projected $1 billion transportation budget shortfall.

Vos says he's willing to take budget debate into October if that's what's needed to come up with a transportation funding solution. The current budget ends in July.

9:05 a.m.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he thinks the budget Gov. Scott Walker is releasing shows that he's preparing to run for a third term.

Vos said at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting Wednesday that Walker's budget "takes care of every single one of the priorities I think people in Wisconsin think are important."

Vos notes that Walker plans to increase funding for the University of Wisconsin System and K-12 public schools. He says "All the way through the state budget you're going to see the governor and Legislature reinvest in our priorities."

Vos says he hopes Walker's budget being released Wednesday afternoon also controls property taxes and cuts income taxes.

8:55 a.m.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he expects the Legislature will go farther than Gov. Scott Walker does in enacting conservative reforms in the state budget.

Fitzgerald and other legislative leaders spoke at a meeting Wednesday of the Wisconsin Counties Association. They spoke hours before Walker was to release his two-year state budget.

Fitzgerald says the new Legislature with its largest Republican majorities in decades "there is a renewed ask for sweeping changes and more reforms."

And Fitzgerald is saying that he wants to be cautious about committing to too much new spending because revenue growth is "not off the chart."

He says, "We have to be sure that we're not doing something we're going to have to revisit two years from now, or god forbid sooner than that."

6:13 a.m.

After years of deep cuts, K-12 public schools and the University of Wisconsin stand to be big winners under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget.

Now all Walker has to do is convince lukewarm fellow Republicans who control the state Legislature to go along. Walker was set to deliver the budget to the Legislature on Wednesday afternoon.

He's already said it will include a $649 million increase for K-12 schools, a 5 percent tuition cut for all University of Wisconsin resident undergraduates, tax cuts and welfare reform.

Republican legislative leaders have been cautious in their reactions to Walker's UW and K-12 proposals, saying they want to see how the additional spending fits with the rest of the budget.

The budget comes as Walker is considering running for a third term.

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