Assembly passes state budget - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Assembly passes state budget

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Madison (AP) -- The state Assembly has passed the state budget on a 55-42 vote.

The vote came abruptly on Wednesday after Democrats surprisingly decided against offering any amendments.  Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says Republicans were clear no changes would be made, so Democrats instead were going to take their opposition directly to the public.

The $70 billion budget would cut income taxes by $650 million, expand private school vouchers statewide and reject a federally funded expansion of Medicaid.

Barca says the budget will hurt the middle class and does not reflect the values of most Wisconsin residents.

Republicans defended it as good for the economy and the state.  The budget now heads to the Senate for debate Thursday.

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Madison (AP) - Assembly Democrats say their decision not to debate the state budget was part of a strategy, not surrender.

Democrats prepared 211 amendments going into Wednesday's floor session but didn't introduce any of them.  Minority Leader Peter Barca was the only Democrat who spoke against the spending plan before majority Republicans adopted it.

The Democrats told reporters after the vote Majority Leader Robin Vos, a Burlington Republican, told them the GOP wouldn't accept any amendments.  Barca said the budget was so bad even if Republicans had adopted a couple amendments no Democrat would have voted for the entire package anyway.

The Democrats say they decided to focus on telling the public about the budget's shortcomings in hopes people will vote Republican legislators out of office next year.

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