By Benjamin Yount for The Center Square

Another Republican lawmaker says he’s a “no” on the state budget because it spends too much.

State Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend, said the budget approved by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee grows government in Wisconsin, and isn’t fiscally responsible. 

Craig told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber that the $40 billion-a-year state budget simply spends too much.

“At the end of the day, there is no way on earth that Wisconsinites are spending 10 percent more in their households, in their businesses,” Craig said. “The economy is improving. But the economy is not government-proof.”

Craig said state government could easily become a “wet blanket” on the state’s economy. 

Craig’s biggest issue is not that state government is spending more, it’s how much more the state is looking to spend. 

Craig said he could support a budget that spent about two percent more, closer to the rate of inflation.

“Even taking the Madison-math, blue-smoke-and-mirrors type of estimate as to where we are in spending right now, the budget still outpaces the Consumer Price Index by two factors,” he said. 

The soon-to-expire state budget spent about $72 billion over the last two years.  The budget that Republican lawmakers on the state’s budget writing panel approved would spend more than $80 billion. 

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald earlier this week said that’s far better than the budget proposed by Gov. Tony Evers. 

“The budget that passed the Finance Committee serves as a conservative check on the document that Gov. Evers introduced earlier this year,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “We’re bonding over $500 million less, taxing over $1 billion less, and nearly doubling the size of our rainy day fund.”

But Republicans are adding about $4 billion in new spending in the budget.  Money has been earmarked for raises for state employees, for an increase in spending in public schools, and Republicans are looking to spend about a billion dollars on new buildings for the University of Wisconsin System alone. 

Craig is the second Republican state senator to publicly vow to vote against the budget this week. 

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said on Wednesday that he won’t vote for the Republican budget either, also saying it spends too much. 

Republicans hold a 19-14 majority in the state Senate. If two more Republicans hold out and all Democrats oppose it, the party won’t be able to pass its own budget. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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