MADISON (WITI) -- Compared to past proceedings held at Wisconsin's State Capitol, the debate on Tuesday, June 18th over the state's budget was downright friendly. Because Democrats are currently waiting for Republicans to add a technical amendment to the bill, no significant debate actually took place in the state's Assembly Chamber on Tuesday. However, there was some agreement on how long the debate's proceedings would be.
"We're going to make this an easy a process as possible," said State Rep. Scott Suder (R - Abbotsford).
Both Democrats and Republicans in the state Assembly, alike, were in favor of ending their previous "all-nighters" at the Capitol and, instead, vote during the day. Members of the Assembly agreed to 12.5 hours of debate on the state budget.
"It's a plus for the people of Wisconsin," said Assembly Minority Leader and State Rep. Peter Barca (D - Kenosha). "So that they can actually tune in and understand what is transpiring on the most important action we will take in this legislative session."
Both parties thought this action was a good idea.
"I will return the compliment," Suder said. "It will be an excellent opportunity for bipartisan negotiation."
Before the first substantive issue was discussed, the Democrats went into caucus - a private strategy meeting - so for much of the afternoon, the Assembly Chamber looked more like a lounge.
However, Tuesday's agenda for Republicans includes adding an amendment to the bill that alters its technical language. This technical amendment would change the Democrats' strategy for adding further proposed amendments.
This two-year spending bill would have huge consequences for the state - including taxes. However, Republicans' and Democrats' views differ on how the bill would impact taxpayers.
"This budget, when fully enacted, will cut taxes by almost $1 billion for middle class families, for job creators and for every single person in Wisconsin," said Assembly Speaker and State Rep. Robin Vos (R - Burlington).
"They are going to give 10 times the tax relief for people making over $300,000 than the average working family," Barca said. "Ten times. I don't know how they justify it."
Transportation, education and the expansion of BadgerCare will also be discussed during this budget debate.