Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Senate opens debate on Wisconsin budget

Senate GOP budget Wisconsin General Assembly Gives Green Light To Foxconn Deal
June Sullivan | 17 September, 2017, 01:02

A $3 billion state subsidy package to lure electronics maker Foxconn to Wisconsin, the biggest deal of its kind in USA history, was poised to head to the desk of a supportive Gov. Scott Walker after a state Assembly vote Thursday.

The electronics-maker could receive up to $2.85 billion in cash from state taxpayers under the deal, which would make it the largest incentive package for a foreign company in USA history.

A previous version of the bill already passed the chamber but must be re-passed with recent changes added by the state Senate and the Legislature's budget panel. Both are sought by Republican senators who say they're not ready to pass the budget. The budget was supposed to be done by July 1 but GOP infighting over road funding has delayed the process.

- The Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday sent Gov. Scott Walker a multibillion-dollar subsidy package for a Taiwanese company, putting within reach the governor's bid to place a massive flat-screen plant in the state.

The Assembly planned to vote on the budget Wednesday night.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is defending the plan, saying that there is something for everyone to like in it, including tax cuts and more funding for K-12 public schools.

Democrats spoke out Wednesday before the Assembly was to vote on the $76 billion spending plan.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said the fact that the Republicans had difficulty getting the needed 17 votes "demonstrates the dysfunction that's happening, the inability to govern".

Walker, who is in South Korea on a trade mission, has also been personally involved in trying to broker a deal, said his spokesman Tom Evenson.

High cost transportation aid is in that budget.

Foxconn issued an unsigned statement thanking Wisconsin, saying the incentives "will help us move forward with our plans to build the state-of-the-art advanced display manufacturing campus".

Walker says he would also be OK with additional reforms at the state Department of Transportation. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday he does not yet have the needed 17 votes to pas the budget.

"Stop asking your hardworking constituents ... to line the pockets of billionaires", said Rep. Amanda Stuck, a Democrat. He praised the plan that passed for sending $639 million more to K-12 schools while also slightly reducing property taxes.

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