UPDATE: Wisconsin budget talks break down

Published: Jun. 27, 2017 at 11:08 AM CDT
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Budget talks between Wisconsin state Assembly and Senate Republicans have broken down.

Leaders from both sides on Tuesday called each other's position on how to pay for road construction projects "laughable." A meeting with Republican leaders abruptly ended after 40 minutes.

Both sides are scheduled to meet separately and privately on Wednesday. Leaders also have a meeting with Gov. Scott Walker.

The current two-year budget ends on Friday, but the Republican-controlled Legislature will not pass a new one in time.

How to pay for roads remains the biggest area of disagreement.

Republicans are also discussing whether to loosen income eligibility for the statewide private school voucher program and reduce or eliminate the personal property tax rather than cut income taxes as Walker wants.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he's willing not to increase funding at all for roads if Senate Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker refuse to consider higher gas taxes or fees to pay for construction projects.

Vos said Tuesday that Assembly Republicans continue to refuse borrowing as much money as their colleagues in the Senate are proposing to pay for roads. Senate Republicans have proposed $850 million in additional borrowing but refused to consider higher gas taxes or fees.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald calls Vos's position "laughable."

But Vos says what's laughable is Fitzgerald saying "it's our way or the highway."

Senate and Assembly Republicans met privately Tuesday but made little progress on a budget deal.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says if the Legislature can't pass a budget in July, the GOP "will have egg on our faces."

But Fitzgerald and Assembly Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting Tuesday saying no progress had been made. Fitzgerald says it is "really frustrating" to be nearing the beginning of July and still have no deal.

The current budget ends on Friday but lawmakers can't pass a new spending plan in time to start by Saturday. Instead, current spending levels will continue -- as will the Republican impasse.

The biggest area of disagreement continues to be over how to pay for road funding. Assembly Republicans want to consider tax and fee increases, but Senate Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker favor more borrowing.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Republicans say no progress was made on reaching a state budget deal following a brief, tense meeting with their Senate GOP colleagues.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Senate and Assembly Republicans met for about 40 minutes Tuesday and there were a "lot of bottom lines" but no progress. He says Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald "spent a lot of time talking at us, seeming angry and then said `we're done."'

Fitzgerald's spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Budget committee co-chair John Nygren says it wasn't likely the Joint Finance Committee would meet on Thursday.

Republicans are primarily hung up on how to pay for roads, but there are also disagreements over K-12 education funding and taxes.

Gov. Scott Walker has repeatedly said he thinks a deal will be reached soon.