Saturday, July 15, 2023

Evers road funding veto improves statewide equity. Rural WisGOPs don't want to give up the advantage

One of Governor Evers' vetoes in the recently approved state budget that hasn't been mentioned much was one that dealt with state aids for local roads. But a couple of rural WisGOP legislators are trying to change that, with State Sen. Cory Tomczyk giving an example of the type of complaint being leveled.
“It is appalling to me that the same Governor who campaigned on ‘fixing the damn roads’ and posed for photo-ops with a shovel in his hands would have the gall to veto critical funding our small town local roads....

(One paragraph of anti-Evers name-calling and whiny resentment not connected to reality. Will not share here).

You can talk to any town official in Wisconsin and they will tell you one of their biggest priorities this session was increasing the per-mileage funding for local roads. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government, increasing transportation funding was a priority for me this budget and is a cause I will continue to fight for, even while facing such ignorant opposition from the Governor’s office.”
This seems like a good place to tell you that despite Sen. Tomczyk beign elected to represent the Wausau area, his campaign page on Facebook resembles that of someone serving in Montana.

But let's go into the substance of Sen> Tomczyk's rant, and let's look at Gov Evers veto message, to see what it is and the reasoning behind it.
This section increases the mileage aid payments in the general transportation aids program to $2,789 in calendar year 2024 and $2,845 in calendar year 2025 – thereby providing 2 percent increases to the mileage reimbursement rate in both of these calendar years. This section also includes 2 percent increases in calendar year 2024 and calendar year 2025 for the general transportation aids program for both counties and municipalities.

I am partially vetoing the section to delete the mileage aid payment increases because I object to providing further increases to mileage aid when the disparate impact of 2011 Wisconsin Act 32 on the mileage aid versus share of cost aid components of the general transportation aids formula remains unaddressed. The nearly 6.0 percent reduction signed into law by 2011 Wisconsin Act 32 fell entirely on share of cost awardees in the formula. As a result of my veto, this disparate treatment based on the formula component that a locality relies upon is reduced. My veto also retains the 2 percent increases in funding for both calendar year 2024 and calendar year 2025 for the general transportation aids program as provided by this section.
So Evers isn't changing how much is available statewide at all, he's just making a difference in how much is being reimbursed to each community.

And as the Legislative Fiscal Bureau lays out, it costs much more to fix roads in cities and villages, because there are more streets to fix and (generally) more traffic to deal with. This means towns have had a much better deal, because they've gotten more payments based on land and mileage instead of how much the project actually costs.
Statewide estimated transportation aid payments for 2023 equal 20.1% of reported costs for 2021. From this perspective, towns do the best, with payments equaling 36.8% of reported costs. Incorporated areas benefit the least, with payments ranging from 14.7% of reported costs for those with populations under 10,000 to 17.5% of reported costs for those with populations over 200,000.

This situation is reversed when aid payments are examined in terms of mileage. On average statewide, local governments received $5,145 in 2023 payments for each mile of road under their jurisdiction. From this perspective, towns benefit the least, receiving $2,796 per mile. Incorporated areas benefit the most, ranging from $8,918 per mile for those with populations under 10,000 to $18,041 per mile for those with populations over 200,000.

Evers is merely trying to make for improved equity statewide. But apparently that's a no-go for Sen. Tomczyk and other rural WisGOPs, who never miss a moment to complain how put-upon the "forgotten folks in the sticks" are.

Also not mentioned by Tomczyk is that rural roads are already getting a major boost from this budget, in the form of a new $150 million program to help fix roads and related infrastructure in and around on agricultural lands. WisPolitics' JR Ross mentioned that new program while discussing this issue at the end of this week's "Rewind" show, and also pointed out that rural communities got a whole lot more money in the recently-signed shared revenued bill. Click ahead to 26:25, and Ross explains the situation quite well.

The bump that rurals got in the shared revenue bill shouldn't be forgotten. Many Wisconsin towns will be receiving as much as 5, 10 or even 15 times the shared revenue payment it got in 2023. And that reality was pointed out when Governor Evers signed the shared revenue bill in Sen. Tomczyk's district.

Especially given that rural communities often don't have a lot of services on their own to pay for beyond roads (countywide sheriff departments handle most law enforcement, and many towns don't have cops of their own), guess where those extra state funds are likely going toward.

I don't resent rural Wisconsin getting a disproportionate share of state in general - when there aren't many people in an area, you aren't going to have much of a tax base to do things on your own, and living in a small community shouldn't relegate you to a second-class existence when it comes to infrastructure. But I do resent when rural WisGOPs try to play this BS about how "ignored" they are when Governor Evers makes a small veto in road funding to make the playing field more level statewide.

Much of rural Wisconsin got a whole lot more out of this budget than many of us city-slickers, and their towns, communities and schools will have an easier time making ends meet. Dems shouldn't let the WisGOPs that "represent" those areas get away with telling them otherwise.


  1. Great Post!!! So sick of the rural local yokels, 80% of which are loyal MAGA sheep and none of which voted for Governor Evers, whining and griping about actions that level the playing field. They spend their whole lifes sucking at the government teat, getting free money to not work, to not plant crops, to not produce milk... and still hate the Gubmint' that they grift their very existence on.

    1. Thanks! It reiterates something I have said for years, which is that Republicans don't believe in less spending, they believe in REDIRECTING it to their donors and their communities. And they truly believe they're the only people that deserve the help.

    2. Hopefully this means you'll keep your filthy urban trash ass far, far away from our beautiful low-crime rural communities. We don't want you.

    3. The dirty secret - your communities aren't beautiful, because of bitter people like you. And that's why everyone under 50 with an ounce of game is leaving for communities like mine.

      The other dirty secret - you need our urban tax dollars a whole lot more than we will ever need you. And yet, it's only Democrats that want to give rural communities the resources, wages and infrastructure that give you a better chance of succeeding, and keeping that talent at home. And it's Dems that want to preserve rural lands for the great natural resources and beauty that they offer.

      But keep voting GOP on resentment and cultural BS. It's worked out soooo well for you the last 20 years. Or join with other rural parts of blue Midwest states like Michigan and Minnesota, and see how far you get with that.

  2. Republicans like Cory (J.R. Ewing) Tomczyk don’t deal in facts and reality, only emotions. As in, whatever riles up the rage, fear, and resentment of their base. The most absurd example of this, though, was not this particular issue but rather Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald being outraged at the “immoral” Madison Naked Bike Ride. An event that I’ll admit I wasn’t even aware of until they complained about it. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To draw attention to a non-issue to get themselves some publicity. (Well that, and to take potshots at Democrats and everyone who isn’t a repressed, uber-religious bigot.)

    Minnesconsin Tom

    1. Correct. Anything to avoid talking about issues that actually matter. Because Republicans have no answers for anything connected to the real world, with trickle down and austerity being known as a complete failure at this point.

  3. National news media (NY Times) and others are reporting on this GQP POS slur during a heated 2021 Wausau meeting. Several witnesses reported that Tomczyk called the boy a "fag" when the boy testified at the meeting. The reason why this story is popping today is that Tomczyk is suing the local newspaper that reported the story, the Wausau Pilot & Review out of existence. Tomczyk admitted that he regularly calls people fags or faggots, but he is pissed that the local newspaper reports that he does that. Looks like the Gannett controlled media here in Wisconsin is going to ignore a story that is breaking nationally. Surprise!! Surprise!!! Just another product of the extreme Republican gerrymandering that guarantees this POS a seat for life!