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Wisconsin set to pass $122 million child-tax credit, approve borrowing $350 million for prison



MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Assembly planned to finish its work for the year Thursday by approving $350 million to build a new prison and provide all parents a $100 per-child tax rebate, although it’s uncertain whether either will pass the Senate.

The Assembly scheduled a marathon last day in session on Thursday that’s expected to go deep into the night. The Senate was coming back for one last day in March before quitting for the year.

The $100 tax credit will total $122 million and would be distributed just in time for the Wisconsin governor election. On the flip side, the Assembly is also set to borrow $350 more million to pay for a new adult prison.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he wanted to approve borrowing for the new prison now while lawmakers await recommendations of a prison study task force.

Given that prisons are already 30 percent over-capacity, and the Legislature was passing tough-on-crime bills expected to put even more people behind bars, Vos said it was a foregone conclusion that a new prison would be needed.

The Assembly also planned to approve spending $4 million on additional prosecutors for district attorneys and a plan that would lead to increasing revocations of probation, parole or extended supervision, sending more people to prison.

A tax incentive package designed to entice Kimberly-Clark not cut 600 jobs in northeastern Wisconsin was also slated for approval. The consumer products giant has been non-committal to the proposal, which Walker put forward mirroring incentives given to Taiwanese company Foxconn Technology Group.

That proposal is opposed by a coalition of conservative advocacy groups that say it’s bad economics and sets a bad precedent for economic development.

The Assembly also planned to give final approval to pay raises for state workers and University of Wisconsin employees. They would receive a 2 percent raise this summer and another 2 percent increase in January.

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