Fitzgerald Optimistic Governor Will Sign Budget

(Madison) The legislature has finished its budget work, now will the governor sign it? State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday that members of his Republican caucus were “skittish” because of the potential for vetoes from Governor Tony Evers.

“I don’t ever remember a budget document getting this much scrutiny, prior to the legislature voting on it,” the Juneau Republican said.

The state Senate passed the budget, 17-16, with Republicans David Craig & Steve Nass voting no along with all Democrats. Wednesday’s debate was not as long as that in the Assembly, which lasted 10 hours on Tuesday. The Republican Senate majority turned back a number of amendments offered by Democrats.

“The budget that is on its way to Governor Evers’ desk is incredibly disappointing compared to what he originally introduced,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach, a Democrat who serves on the Joint Finance Committee. As in the Assembly, Senate Democrats called out the majority for rejecting $1.2 billion of federal money to expand Medicaid, which had been the foundation of Evers’ “Peoples Budget.”

Still, Fitzgerald is optimistic that Evers will sign the package, which Republicans have characterized as a compromise.

“And I think he will. I’ve urged him every time that we’ve met in his office to give that a lot of thought,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it would be difficult to reassemble the legislature, bring them back, and then work on the policy decisions from a different perspective.”

Evers has a number of options now, from partial vetoes of the $81.7 billion spending plan, to vetoing the entire package.