Shared revenues had already flatlined in the late 2000s, but Republicans took over state government in 2011, you can see that they cut shared revenues to local governments, and never did much to replace them. (And if you try to say "the tools of Act 10", that was a one-time shot more than 10 years ago, while the shared revenue cuts remain). With that in mind, I want to focus in on a few types of shared revenues that we can use our surplus on - roads, schools and other local government operations. Let's start with the roads, and let's go back to a recent paper from the Wisconsin Policy Forum that noted local governments were slated to collect $62.8 million in wheel taxes in 2021, and over $50 million higher than it was 6 years prior to that. this recent LFB memo to Dem lawmakers brings up that the state’s voucher and charter programs are taking away $202.6 million from K-12 public schools in this school year, and nearly $180 million outside of Milwaukee. Property taxes can be raised to make up the difference, but I'll ask a simple question - Why should those districts have to raise property taxes? Instead, why not use state funds to replace the property taxes used to backfill the losses for vouchers? If GOPs complain about Milwaukee being included in this (since MPS is receiving an outsized share of the state’s stimulus allocation), then you can leave them out and have the other $180 million go to districts for next year, and that and then some for the year after that. On top of the voucher backfill, we can use extra state funding to give further flexibility to schools and local governments, by giving an extra distribution of state aid, with 1/2 of that being added to a community’s/district’s revenue limit, and 1/2 being used to cut property taxes by using state funding instead. We can do this first as a rebate for property taxes paid this Winter (sent out by the local communities, after getting a payment from the state), then have another payment for 2022-23 (with the cut coming in the December property tax bills), and another for 2023-24. So how much money would that be? The Legislative Fiscal Bureau made estimates last year of how much Wisconsinites would pay in property taxes, and it looks like this.
State Shared Revenue payments have *decreased* under Republican control leaving local governments left to foot the rising costs of essential services.— Evan Goyke (@RepGoyke) January 25, 2022
The solution is clear, we need to raise Shared Revenue. https://t.co/vvRBkhPfwJ pic.twitter.com/i2tjn8PtpX
“Bonus pool” for local transportation $62.8 million x 2 = $125.6 million
Fill “school voucher hole” of property taxes for 2022-23 $180 million
Cut prop taxes/increase local govt aids $866.2 million + $870.4 million = $1,736.6 million
$135 renter's rebate $77.4 million x 2 = $154.8 million TOTAL $2,322.6 million That leaves us with a little less than $1.58 billion left at the end of the semester. I suppose you’d see GOP crocodile tears about “longer-term costs”, so let me take a look at what LFB estimated for the 2023-25 “structural budget” (based on laws when the budget became law in July), but I’ll use the updated figures from the revenue estimates.