State Senate passes two-year spending plan on 17-16 vote

MADISON (WITI) -- The 2013-2015 biennial budget will now head to Governor Walker’s desk after its passage in the State Senate early Friday morning, June 21st.

After twelve hours of deliberating the two-year spending plan passed shortly after midnight on a 17-16 vote.

The $68 billion budget lays out a spending plan for the next two years and:

    Republican proposals triumphed.

    "We're going to put into a law a four percent income tax cut for the students, we're going to have the first back to back tuition freeze," said Republican Senator Glenn Grothman.

    "We're giving more money to education and if you look at our scorecard you can see we have less bonding and less debt service," said Republican Senator Alberta Darling.

    Democrats criticized the budget for including proposals that have nothing to do with state finances but are, instead, policy issues.

    Some legislators say they close Senate vote on the budget in general illustrates a need for Republicans and Democrats to work together.

    "I had hoped we'd be able to find some common ground and move forward as a state. Democrats were trying to do that," said Senator Chris Larson. "I think there's a continued divide and conquer that we saw on the floor, that we saw last week. I thought what we've seen in the last two and a half years would come to an end."

    Democratic Senator Mark Miller added, "that's the thing that we're supposed to do here is bringing the views of our constituents to the debate here on the floor. It's more healthy when all parties are engaged."

    The budget is expected to be signed by Governor Walker by June 30th, although he could use his veto power to make changes.