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Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker speaks at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego, Calif. on July 23, 2015. (Reuters / Mike Blake)

Walker says he'd consider less borrowing to ease Wisconsin budget stalemate

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker celebrated the Fourth of July on Tuesday by riding in a parade in Wauwatosa, but he said he'll be back at the state Capitol this morning, meeting with lawmakers on the stalled 2017-19 state budget.

The governor and fellow Republicans who control the state Senate and Assembly remain especially divided on road funding.

Walker says he's willing to get closer to the Assembly's goal to have little or no additional borrowing for road projects, without a long-term fix for past borrowing debt.

"We have the lowest level of bonding since before 9/11," Walker told reporters. "If the speaker and others in the Assembly want less bonding, I'm certainly willing to work with them."

He said he's lowered his borrowing package to less than $300 million.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Wisconsin Public Radio this week that it's up to the Senate to come up with a transportation plan that can pass both chambers. The governor said he hopes to have a budget deal by the end of July.

Democratic state Rep. Fred Kessler was also riding in the Wauwatosa parade on Tuesday. He said he's troubled by the lack of a budget deal.

"I would think that when the Republicans control the governorship, control both houses of the Legislature, and they can't govern, that's a serious problem," Kessler said.

The GOP should raise the gas tax or drivers license fees to fix Wisconsin roads, he said.

Kessler also said Republicans need to use the budget to increase state school aid to urban and rural areas, because teachers in those areas often leave for better-paying jobs in suburban school districts.

The deadline to pass a new Wisconsin budget came and went over the weekend without any serious consequences for state government; because the old budget carries over in Wisconsin until a new one is passed, there's no government shutdown when the new fiscal year hits on July 1.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news.

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