Lawmakers unanimously pass the latest budget adjustment bill. “We are paying our bills with this bill,” says Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee.
The legislative budget writing panel unanimously approves a bill (AB 148) that pays back $235 million ($200 mil plus $35 mil interest) to the Patients Compensation Fund that was illegally raided in 2007. Republican Vos explains. “The Patients Compensation Fund … I didn’t vote to steal that money. I think that was done by the Democrat majority, and we are now paying back with interest … that bill landed on our laps because of an action of a previous governor.”
The bill also makes the state’s Medicaid payments on time, saving $23 million in federal funds for Wisconsin. The measure also offsets the $30 million that would have been realized with the enactment of the collective bargaining law. Vos says, “We are taking up the savings that were not able to be realized because of an activist judge in Dane County.”
The money comes from the $636 million in higher-than-expected tax revenues. Democratic Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says the state’s not broke. “So there’s a lot of much ado about nothing.”
La Crosse Democrat Jennifer Shilling expressed frustration. “This is the fourth version … we have seen more budget repair bills than Brett Favre retirements in this state.”
Vos loses his patience as Jauch and fellow Democrat Lena Taylor interrupt him as he’s wrapping up the meeting. “Did I interrupt you during your entire diatribe?”
Despite objections and arguments from Democrats, the bill passes unanimously.