By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker’s hopes are fading for a quicker-than-normal passage of the state budget, even as Republican legislative leaders met privately Tuesday with individual lawmakers to try and broker a deal on outstanding issues including roads funding and financing a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Walker, who was in Florida on Tuesday for an economic growth summit and will be in Iowa on Saturday, has said he won’t announce his expected run for the presidency until after he signs the two-year budget.
Walker set the expectation for fast action back in November, the night he was re-elected to a second term, saying he wanted to move quickly on the budget to show the country that the process works more smoothly in Wisconsin than Washington.
“We’re going to be even more aggressive now because I think we have an even stronger ally in the Legislature,” Walker told his Cabinet on Nov. 5
In 2013, Walker signed the budget on June 30. This year, he released his plan in February, 17 days earlier than two years ago and urged fellow Republicans to move swiftly to get done sooner.
But the Legislature hasn’t followed through. The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, a 16-member panel controlled by Republicans, had hoped to complete its work last week. But it doesn’t have agreement on an arena financing deal or a way to pay for state roads and highway projects.
Both Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos were in meetings with lawmakers all day Tuesday. With those talks continuing, “it is looking unlikely” that the budget committee will meet this week, Fitzgerald spokeswoman Myranda Tanck said.
Sen. Tom Tiffany, a Republican from Hazelhurst on the budget committee, said he left a meeting with Fitzgerald on Tuesday not knowing when the panel will meet again.
“It doesn’t sound to me like we’ll have an agreement this week,” Tiffany said.
He said Fitzgerald had been discussing the situation with Vos. A spokeswoman for Vos said he was not immediately available to comment.
In 2013, the Joint Finance Committee passed the budget on June 5. Even if it doesn’t get done until next week, the Senate and Assembly could still pass the budget by the end of the month. Then it’s up to Walker to decide how long to take to sign it and issue vetoes.
At an appearance Monday, Walker downplayed questions about whether he was spending enough time focused on getting the budget done while also traveling around the country laying the groundwork for the expected White House run.
“The budget is a priority for us,” he said. “We talk about it every day.”Follow @sbauerAP