We still have major conflicts showing within the GOP caucus about the transportation budget, with other WisGOP Assembly members chiming in today in opposition to Gov Walker's plans. To start, here's State Rep. and Joint Finance Committee member Mary Czaja.
Asked on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Central Time" Tuesday whether she'd support options like raising taxes or vehicle fees, Czaja said she'd support raising the gas tax.Czaja was also one of the 33 outstate Assembly Republicans who sent a letter demanding that any highway cuts include the Zoo Interchange and other Milwaukee-area projects. Czaja's stances go in clear contrast to the wishes of Gov Walker, who not only is opposed to any increases in fees and gas taxes, but also wants the Zoo Interchange project to remain fully funded in this budget.
"It's actually a user fee," she said. "You know, if you're going to use our roads, you need to help pay for them. And by raising the gasoline tax maybe three to five cents, we're also capturing out-of-state money."
But it wasn't just outstate GOPs that are speaking up against Gov Walker's budget these days. Waukesha Rep Scott Allen penned this column yesterday laying out his thoughts on the DOT budget. While Allen supports keeping the Zoo Interchange project on track, he also takes issue with Walker's "no increased taxes or fees" pose.
In a recent district-wide survey, residents of the 97th district gave me their opinion. Of the 481 people who answered the transportation fund question, 37% of people said that we should increase the gas tax, 30% said we should increase the vehicle registration fee, 20% said we should implement some kind of user mileage fee, and only 13% said that we should increase borrowing...Walker seems to be disconnected from what a lot of his fellow GOPs are dealing with these days. While Scotty was telling reporters today that he expected a budget deal to be finished within a few days, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had a slight difference of opinion from the Governor on that.
Prudence would call for a scaling back of the road re-building budget and enhancing the revenue that comes into the transportation budget. Personally I support the notion that those that use an asset or a service should pay for the use. Our vehicle registration fees are the lowest in the Midwest, by far. It is amazing to me that it costs more to purchase tickets and pay for parking at Six Flags Great America for one day of use of the park than it does to purchase unlimited use of Wisconsin highways for an entire year. Why our Governor, who I support, refuses to recognize these gross disparities and do something about it, I don’t know.
I'll go with the guy who's actually been in Wisconsin most of the days this month on that one. And Wispolitics.com gives another reason I'm not going to buy Gov Walker's happy talk about the budget getting done any time soon
The Joint Finance Committee will not meet tomorrow, according to Co-chair Rep. John Nygren's office.Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald explained why there's no need for the JFC to meet, as there is no agreement within the GOP caucus on several outstanding issues, and Fitz even met with 3 Senate Democrats from Milwaukee today in an attempt to work out some kind of agreement on the Bucks arena, in case that bill gets pulled out of the budget (an option that looks more likely by the day).
There is no additional information about when the JFC will reconvene, according to the Marinette Republican's office.
What a total mess. And I don't get the impression Walker gives a damn about it.