Members of the Joint Finance Committee have put their finishing touches on the state budget.
The budget-writing committee took its final vote on the proposal at about 5:30 Friday morning, passing it on a 12-4 party line vote. Committee co-chair Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says he's pleased with the final product, which he says met their goals of protecting working families and education, despite the national economic crisis and a massive state budget deficit.
The package approved by lawmakers includes measures designed to plug a $6.6 billion budget hole.
Republicans on the committee voted against the plan. State Representative Robin Vos (R-Racine) says the bill will be costly for Wisconsinites by raising taxes and fees and increasing spending by 7-percent.
Provisions approved Thursday morning include an early release program for non-violent offenders, a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax, and a tax on Big Oil.
Pocan says they're hoping the full Legislature will move swiftly on the plan, with action in Assembly expected during the second week of June. The Madison Democrat says the bill should be done before a June 30th deadline, marking the first time that will have happened since 1974.