After nearly seven hours of debate, the Assembly approved a state budget Tuesday night on a 51-44 vote. Republican State Representative Jeff Wood (R-Chippewa Falls) joined Democrats in voting against the bill.
Republicans say their budget plan will lower the state's tax burden and help families, but minority Democrats say it cuts vital state services, schools, and health care.
Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) defended the plan, pointing to the removal of $1.6 billion in new taxes proposed by Governor Doyle. Fitzgerald says his goal is to get Wisconsin off the list of the top 10 most taxed states in the nation. He says the Republican budget will accomplish that goal.
Democratic State Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) attacked Majority Republicans for adding special interest spending and legislation to the budget. Schneider says the bill is packed with GOP pork projects and policy issues, and accused them of being hypocrites by adding those issues in.
The Senate already passed its own version of the budget at the end of June. The plan that will eventually be sent to the Governor will ultimately be decided in a conference committee.