UPDATE: Senate passes budget bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Senate passes budget bill


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Republican-controlled state Senate has passed the $66 billion state budget, sending it to Gov. Scott Walker's desk. 

The Senate approved the bill at 10 p.m. Thursday night on a party line 19-14 vote.

Walker said the budget passed by the Legislature "met and exceeded the goal of balancing the budget by cutting spending and not increasing taxes."

The budget plugs the states $3 billion budget shortfall.

Lawmakers debated the bill for nearly nine hours on the Senate floor.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Majority Leader) said, "For us it wasn't even a choice, it was something we knew we had to do. The claw back on collective bargaining ultimately puts in place what I think is the most honest and responsible budget that we've seen around here in a decade."

Senator Mark Miller (D-Minority Leader) said, "We will see a degradation of our environment, we will see a degradation of the quality of education. People's wages will go down, average household income will go down."

The measure cuts more than $1 billion from public schools and the University of Wisconsin System.  It also takes about $500 million from Medicaid programs.  The bill also caps Family Care, a program designed to keep poor, elderly people out of nursing homes.

Walker says he'll sign the law before June 30.

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