Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Sure enough, WisGOPs now can't get it together on either shared revenue OR the budget

2 weeks ago, I threw in this casual observation about where we were on both the shared revenue bill, and the state budget.
However, the Republicans in the Legislature still need to figure a bill that works for both the Assembly and the Senate, and they sure aren't on the same page about this bill as it is. And if those two houses can't figure out a bill that works, do we see that bleed over into a long-term budget stalemate, like we did with Robbin' Vos and Scott Fitzgerald in 2017, which kept the state budget from being passed until mid-September?

Given that 2023 Republicans are outright terrible at anything resembling governance, I'm getting skeptical that they can get anything done in the next month, and that this devolves into a intra-GOP waiting game on something that we all agree needs to be fixed. Or if there is a bill, it'll be so inequitable and filled with poison pills that Gov Evers should rip it up and come back with something legitimate.
And here's what we found out today.

Like clockwork. Robbin' Vos shoots his mouth off, and WisGOPs in the gerrymandered Legislature can't figure out how to do something worthwhile, so they try to screw over the state's largest city and metro area to distract from their incompetence.

This is completely backwards. What they should be doing with Milwaukee is giving them a sales tax at the city and county levels, and then you don't need a significant increase in shared revenue for them. And if GOPs want to tie the sales tax to police and fire services, fine, as long as you drop all of the stupid conditions imposed on Milwaukee. The property tax and other sources can go to other services, vs tying it up on the two main professions that were exempted from Act 10.

We got more proof that Milwaukee would be an especially good fit for a sales tax with the news this week that Wisconsin tourism spending reached a new record high in 2022, and look who led the way.
Milwaukee County led the state in direct tourism spending in 2022 at $2.2 billion, an increase of 23.6%, while Sauk County, home to many of the attractions of the Wisconsin Dells, was second with $1.6 billion in direct spending, a 7.9% increase. Dane County was third, followed by Waukesha County ($852 million, 15.1%) and Brown County ($764 million, 20.9%).
1% of $2.2 billion is $22 million, and I'd rather tourists be paying toward the services that their visiting requires than dumping it onto the locals.

The Legislature knows that tourism-heavy areas need sales taxes because of the extra services that heavy tourism imposes onto local communities, as there are already several low-population Wisconsin communities that have a "Premier Resort Tax" to help them pay the bills.

Heck, the two newly-elected GOP legislators that represent the Superior area in the Legislature just introduced a bill to add an Expo District and 2% room tax for that community. Someone should ask Sen. Quinn and Rep. Sapik "Why would an extra tax for tourism work for a city in one end of the state and not the other?"

As for the second part of my prediction from two weeks ago?

Not only is JFC slamming to a halt after Thursday, they're ditching their original plans to talk about the WisDOT budget tomorrow. Because if you don't know what the shared revenue situation is, other items like road aids to local communities become harder to piece together. So it might be a waiting game this Summer in a time when we have unprecedented resources, because Republicans still would rather play political games instead of solving problems and improving this state's ability to compete.

It's going to be pretty hard for this state to compete when you're defunding the state's largest city and tourism draw. But an honest debate and problem-solving won't fill up hours of AM radio topics, and distract the rubes from demanding more of themselves and their government, so how would that help Republicans?

By the way WisGOP, you might want to throw away that playbook that has already led you to lose almost every statewide, state-level race in the last 7 years, and got you hammered by double digits this April. It's your communities that are suffering under this system, too. And the new maps are coming. Might be wise for you to get real for once.

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