The state Senate is scheduled to take up the months-overdue state spending plan Friday morning even though its Republican leader is still one vote shy of being able to pass it.
Four Republican senators from conservative counties surrounding Milwaukee on Thursday remained opposed to the 2017-19 state budget Assembly lawmakers passed on Wednesday.
A new state budget to cover spending through 2019 was due on Gov. Scott Walker’s desk on July 1, but Republicans have been at odds for months primarily over how to address a nearly $1 billion shortfall in the state’s pot of money for road projects.
Though state government does not shut down if lawmakers miss their deadline to pass a new state budget, some school district administrators have expressed concern about not knowing exactly how much money they will have from the state and local taxpayers as the delay carries into the new school year.
Gov. Scott Walker is part of a contingent of five Midwestern governors visiting Japan and South Korea this week. According to press release from Walker’s office, the eight-day trade mission is aimed at boosting Wisconsin exports.
Other governors on the trip include: Rick Snyder of Michigan, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Bruce Rauner of Illinois.
The group belongs to the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. In Japan, Walker said he met with executives from Japanese soy sauce maker Kikkoman, which has long had a Wisconsin presence, and Komatsu, a Japanese corporation that manufactures construction, mining and military equipment. Komatsu recently bought Wisconsin’s Joy Global, a manufacturing company located in Milwaukee.
Walker also met with executives from Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that is expected to build a large electronics plant in southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to speaking with Foxconn executives, he spent time talking with executives from companies interested in being suppliers to the plant.
Federal regulators have expanded their investigation of industrial barrel refurbishing plants nationwide, examining operations and safety at 13 facilities in nine states.
The multi-agency investigation initially focused on three such facilities in the Milwaukee area, where a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation uncovered a host of problems endangering workers and residents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recorded 16 violations at the three plants, including not properly cleaning and reconditioning the 55-gallon barrels, failing to give employees adequate training and not keeping required paperwork, according to a Notice of Probable Violation issued Aug. 31 to Container Life Cycle Management.
The department’s sanctions are the latest development as regulators continue to investigate the plants in Milwaukee, St. Francis and Oak Creek.