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Thursday, June 6, 2013

 2:34 PM 

Assembly already sparring over budget

The state Assembly isn’t scheduled to take up the state budget until later this month, but that didn’t stop Dems from pre-emptively criticizing GOP management of the bill.

Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, offered a resolution he said would require the Assembly to debate the budget bill during “normal waking hours,” citing the early Wednesday morning Joint Finance Committee votes on final budget issues.

“The people of Wisconsin need to know what their elected leaders are doing in the middle of the night,” Richards said.

Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine and, like Richards, a JFC member, said the committee debated the most expensive, contentious parts of the budget “from 1 until 6 in the morning.”

“When we do business in the middle of the night like that, it’s the middle class that loses,” Mason said.

Mason also said a provision of the wrap-up motion kicking the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism off the UW-Madison campus was “beneath the majority party.”

The discussion later veered into the substance of the bill, with Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, arguing a Dem tax motion would have taken up more state funding than the JFC budget.

Mason countered, “You’re stealing money from schoolchildren to pay for tax cuts that benefit the wealthy.”

Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, accused Republicans of “continuing down the same path” as the governor’s first budget, rattling off a series of rankings showing the state near the bottom of the country in job prospects.

“If you don’t like these rankings, change the budget,” Barca said. “Don’t double down on trickle-down.”

Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, said the chamber would, eventually, have a healthy debate on the budget during appropriate hours, telling Dems they had made their point for today.

Barca then withdrew the motion to take up the resolution. With that, we’re onto venture capital legislation.


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