The first Republican senator has come out in opposition to the state's biennial budget bill, a week before the two houses are planning to vote on it.
Republican Sen. Steve Nass, of Whitewater, said in a statement Wednesday morning he'll vote against the spending plan the Legislature's budget committee finalized late last week.
With a 19-14 majority in the state Senate, Republicans can only lose two of their members to still get the budget passed through their chamber without any Democratic support.
Nass, who's previously expressed concerns over the transportation proposal and the capital budget, slammed the two-year spending plan as "not a conservative budget by any reasonable analysis."
“I simply can’t deceive the taxpayers by voting for a budget that creates a significant structural deficit, generates the largest property tax hikes in a decade, contains unsustainable levels of excessive spending and authorizes an extremely offensive new vehicle miles-driven tax on motorists starting in 2023," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement he's "disappointed" in Nass' decision, but praised him as "a good legislator who was very involved in the process at every step."
"This budget is a strong counterpunch to the budget that Governor Evers introduced in February," Fitzgerald added.
Nass' comments came a day after Republicans in the state Senate met to discuss the budget. While Nass is the only senator to announce his intentions to vote against the entire plan, he's not alone in expressing concerns about the document.
Sen. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, said after the committee passed the transportation motion that the "level of spending in the budget is gravely concerning."
To get the budget through the Senate, Republicans will need at least 17 votes.
Going forward, Republicans in the state Assembly are eyeing next week Tuesday as their day to vote on the biennial plan, setting up a possible Senate floor vote for later that week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald previously told reporters.
Wednesday's announcement comes after the Legislative Fiscal Bureau Tuesday released a memo showing property taxes would increase the same amount under the GOP budget as they would through Gov. Tony Evers' original proposal.
Specifically, the increases on the median-valued home are expected to be $56 in 2019 and $48 in 2020.