Sunday, March 3, 2019

Evers budgets to fix the roads. Forces GOPs to say more than "No"

I'm in a warmer place on vacation, so won't have as much as normal. But I wanted to give a brief overview of the DOT budget initiatives from Governor Evers.

Changes in DOT Revenues 2019-21
Increase gas tax by 8 cents $474.9 million

Indexing gas tax in 2020 $41.6 million

Increase in Heavy Truck Fees $36.35 million

Increase in Title Fees by $10 $35.7 million

Collect hybrid vehicle fees $7.75 million

Stop transferring money from Gen Fund -$41 million

Much of that extra money would be pumped back into highways, as those various projects would increase by more than $400 million “in cash” over the 2019 base.

On the other side, Evers wants to limit borrowing for highways to $198 million, well below what we saw in the Walker years. And that borrowing,needs to to down, as the amount used to pay off that prior DOT debt goes up by $29.5 million for 2019-21.

One of the other initiatives with the added DOT money will involve adding $66 million in general transportation aids, which should help local governments, along with the relaxing of revenue limits.

I wanted Evers to give local governments the ability to raise a sales tax to pay for their roads and/or other duties, to take the pressure off of the property tax while maintaining services, but that doesnt seem to be in there. Let's see if GOPs do it instead, given that some GOP legislators have previously signed on to a local sales tax for roads over a wheel tax.

Another long-neglected area that gets a boost in Evers’ budget is transit, as aids for general operations would go up by $13.8 over the course of the budget, reversing a 10% cut Walker imposed on systems 7 years ago. In addition, Evers wants to add $10 million to a program that helps local transit systems buy new buses. Both moves would reduce the pressures that transit has had to face as local government funding has become increasingly constrained in the 2010s.

We'll see how much (if any) of this survives the gerrymandered GOP Legislature in the coming months. But if the GOPs do turn this package down, they're going to have to explain where they're going to come up with the money and/or flexibility to local governments to fix the Scottholes that have developed over their 8-year Reign of Error.


  1. Ever's proposal should include the "Minnesota Solution:" two new taxing brackets for top-end earners. Minnesota plowed the revenue from that reform, which was not a windfall but just a return to equitable taxation, into infrastructure. Wisconsin must do likewise.

    1. Especially for corporations, who rely on good roads and infrastructure much more than the typical Wisconsinite. I'm sure the GOP donors at Schneider National may not like the added registration fee, but they need to understand their free ride is over.