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Assembly narrowly approves budget repair bill

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New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Wisconsin lawmakers have approved their prescription for curing the state budget, something the governor has already said he won't take.

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The Assembly voted 51-46 Wednesday in favor of a plan to wipe out a revenue shortfall of just over $526 million, sending it to Gov. Jim Doyle.

It does not include the hospital tax Doyle wanted.

It does push millions in state school aid into the next budget and it refinances the state's future payments from the tobacco lawsuit settlement to grab an extra $200 million now. Doyle opposes both, and he promises to use his line-item veto power extensively.

Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, scolded her colleagues for not having the backbone to cut spending.

Rep Frank Boyle, D-Superior, said the measure will come back to bite the state in the future.

Leaders of both houses said the package is far from perfect, but it's the only one they can pass in a split Legislature - an Assembly run by Republicans, and a Senate ruled by Democrats.

Only 32 of the 52 Assembly Republicans voted yes, and 19 Democrats joined them.

Rep. Ann Hraychuck, D-Balsam, and Rep. Barb Gronemus, D-Whitehall, were the only two area lawmakers to vote against the measure.

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