Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 26° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Wisconsin budget signed, Walker set to announce

Presidential bid to kick off today

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker displays a signed 2015-17 state budget Sunday during a ceremony on the production floor of Valveworks USA in Waukesha, Wis. (Associated Press)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker displays a signed 2015-17 state budget Sunday during a ceremony on the production floor of Valveworks USA in Waukesha, Wis. (Associated Press)
Todd Richmond Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker signed the next Wisconsin state budget into law Sunday, brushing aside complaints from his own party about the $73 billion spending plan and fulfilling his promise to get it done before he announces he is running for the Republican nomination for president.

Walker signed the budget at Valveworks USA, a valve and wellhead component manufacturer in Waukesha.

“The budget I signed today again brings real reform to Wisconsin and allows everyone more opportunity for a brighter future,” Walker said in a statement.

Walker plans to announce his presidential candidacy today. He had hoped Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate would enable his party to finish the budget early and allow him to coast into his announcement. But the budget ended up on his desk a week into the new fiscal year marked by the most “no” votes from GOP lawmakers of any of his three state budgets. One Republican, state Rep. Rob Brooks, described the budget as “crap.”

The Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee handed the governor a string of defeats as it spent months revising the two-year budget.

The committee scrapped his plans to grant the University of Wisconsin System autonomy from state oversight and scaled back a $300 million cut the governor wanted to impose on the system by $50 million. The panel also rejected deep funding cuts for K-12 public schools and the popular SeniorCare prescription drug program as well as a proposal to borrow $220 million for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

The committee slipped a provision into the budget that Walker’s office helped draft that would have dismantled Wisconsin’s open records law. Walker and Republican leaders did a quick about-face, stripping the provision in the face of a wave of bipartisan outrage.

Assembly Republicans, in particular, were extremely critical of the budget, with 11 GOP members voting against the plan on the floor.

The spending plan still gives Walker plenty of talking points as he courts conservative voters in early primary states in the coming weeks. The budget expands the private school voucher program, which provides state subsidies for students to attend private schools, including religious ones. It also extends a freeze on in-state UW tuition for another two years and imposes no sales or income tax increases.

Walker made 104 changes to the spending document using his expansive veto power.

He used his veto to wipe out $1 million in grants for nonprofit conservation organizations, saying he objects to handing out the money without accountability.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.