Friday - September 29, 2017 2:14 am

Vos to Walker on budget vetoes: ‘I won’t forget this’

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Gov. Scott Walker surrounded himself with elementary students from Neenah, Wis., to sign the budget. Gov. Scott Walker surrounded himself with elementary students from Neenah, Wis., to sign the budget.

Text exchanges were requested between
the two days after Senate passed budget 

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Gov. Scott Walker “I won’t forget this” after Walker agreed to make several vetoes to the state budget to win support in the Senate, according to text messages released Thursday under the state’s open records law.

The Associated Press requested texts exchanges in the days after the Senate passed the state budget on Sept. 15. The Senate only had enough Republican votes to pass the plan after Walker agreed to make a series of vetoes to the budget.

Vos, who negotiated a budget deal with fellow Republicans Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said at the time that the senators were holding the Legislature hostage, being selfish and making a “ransom note” to get what they wanted.

His anger is clear in the messages sent to Walker on Sept. 16, the day after the budget passed.

“Very disappointed in the way I’ve been treated,” Vos texted. “not even the courtesy of a phone call before you took out things that were important to me.”

In another he simply says, “I won’t forget this.”

It wasn’t clear from the texts what specific items Vos was referring to that Walker was taking out of the budget. Walker’s vetoed several measures supported by Assembly Republicans, including a provision trumpeted by Vos and Assembly GOP leaders to allow low-spending school districts to increase property taxes.

Vos did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, and his spokeswoman also did not immediately return messages left late Thursday afternoon.

Vos’s office had said earlier Thursday that it had no text messages responsive to the AP’s request. Walker’s office, just hours later, released three messages it said Vos had sent to Walker.

Vos had been adamant in public that the Assembly would not take another vote on the budget after the Senate, meaning that the Senate couldn’t make any changes to it. He repeated that position in another text to Walker.

“We aren’t changing our deal to get Senate votes,” he texted. “We have one they negotiated. I’m passing the budget this week and leaving, not to return until October.”

This isn’t the first time that Vos has voiced his anger with Walker over the budget via text message. In April, Vos voiced his displeasure to Walker about him tweeting his opposition to raising gas taxes to pay for roads. Vos had been calling for a gas tax increase.

“Lobbying by Twitter isn’t going to work here,” Vos said then. He also accused Walker then of not involving Republican lawmakers in the budget-writing process, saying that makes it difficult to “rubber stamp it.”

Vos said then, and repeated in the week that the budget passed, that he remains one of Walker’s strongest allies, despite their disagreements.

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Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sbauerAP

 

Last modified on Friday - September 29, 2017 2:21 am
Associated Press

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