Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Assembly Budget version passes 51-44

With one republican voting against and four democrats absent, the Assembly voted 51-44 to approve its version of the State Budget tonight around 10:00 p.m. Thanks to Greg Bump at the Wispolitics Budget Blog for keeping track of the debate - I was on my way to Wausau when the votes were finally taken.

The vote was (almost) strictly along partisan lines, which we expected. It should be noted as an FYI that the only republican "no" vote (Rep. Jeff Wood) wasn't related to SmokeFree Wisconsin's issues.

The Assembly's version of the budget includes a drastic 75% cut to the current funding level of the WI Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and completely deletes the proposed $1.25 increase in the cigarette and tobacco products tax. It's definitely a let down after our recent success convincing senators to restore the proposed funding for the Tobacco Control program to $30 million and protect the $1.25 increase in the Senate version of the Budget.

Now's a great time to contact your representative and senator and let them know how you feel about the Budget votes so far. Your opinions are important for legislators to keep in mind as Assembly and Senate leaders head into the conference committee.

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