Key areas where Republicans disagree with Governor Walker on budget
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans who control the Legislature are clashing over key parts of his $76 billion state budget that runs from July 1 through the end of June 2019. Those areas include:
— Roads: Walker wants to borrow half a billion dollars and delay major road projects instead of raising taxes to deal with a projected $1 billion shortfall. Republican lawmakers, together with Democrats, are urging Walker to consider raising the gas tax and vehicle fees as part of a long-term funding solution. Walker, who is up for re-election next year, is threatening a veto and Republicans in the Assembly and Senate disagree on whether they’d override.
— University of Wisconsin: Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said questions over the relationship between private foundations and UW campuses has cast a “dark cloud” over budget negotiations, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said an examination of that shouldn’t affect debate over higher education funding. University leaders are hopeful lawmakers go along with Walker’s call for about a $100 million increase.
— Tuition cut: Walker wants to cut UW and technical college tuition by 5 percent for all in-state students in the second year of the budget after five years of holding it flat. Vos and others say the money would be better spent with aid targeting poor students.
— Self-insurance: Walker projects that $60 million could be saved if the state insured 250,000 state workers, rather than contracting with HMOs. Lawmakers are questioning whether that much could be saved and balking at Walker’s using those savings to help fund his increases for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System.
— Sales tax holiday: Walker wants to waive sales taxes for a weekend in August this year and next for clothing purchases and certain school supplies under $75 and computers costing less than $750. But two Republican lawmakers on the budget committee derided the plan as a “gimmick,” increasing the odds it won’t win support.
— Act 10 compliance: Teachers would have to pay at least 12 percent of their health care costs, in compliance with the law known as Act 10, in order for public schools to receive a portion of the nearly $650 million more Walker has targeted for K-12 education. But Republican Sen. Luther Olsen questioned whether the Legislature was trying to “cram (Act 10) down their throats” and not allowing schools to manage their budgets as they see fit. State Superintendent Tony Evers also opposes the proposal.
— Historic tax credit: Limiting a tax credit for historic preservation projects to $10 million a year, which was rejected in the last budget, is once again finding bipartisan opposition.
— DNR magazine: Walker’s call to stop printing a popular outdoors magazine has seen a loud backlash from the public, environmentalists and lawmakers from both parties.