GOP state budget leaders weigh in on some of Gov. Evers' Milwaukee-related proposals
Republican co-chairs of the Wisconsin Legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee are starting to spell out what they might accept from Gov. Tony Evers' state budget proposal. Also, what they might reject, and what they're still trying to assess.
Rep. Mark Born (Beaver Dam) and Sen. Howard Marklein (Spring Green) spoke at Tuesday's WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison. Marklein says there's general agreement with Evers that local governments need more shared revenue from the state, perhaps with dedicated money from the state sales tax. But the Senator says there also has to change, including Milwaukee's public employee pension plan, where costs are growing, and funding is a concern.
"Some of those reforms would involve Milwaukee and their pension system. Collectively, we've ignored that for years, and something's got to be done there. There's a lot of moving parts in the negotiations, and it's gotta work for Milwaukee, and it's also gotta work for Dodgeville," Marklein says.
Born says he can't go along with an Evers plan to allow Milwaukee County to impose an additional one percent sales tax and to allow other counties or many cities to hike the sales tax a half percent.
"They have that now. They have referendum ability now. They can ask to go exceed their levy limits and tax themselves now. That's current law. I don't think anyone's proposing to change that. But I don't think you'll see this legislature support new taxes," Born says.
Marklein says there also appears to be agreement on raises for some state employees, including correctional officers, prosecutors and more.
"We're not going to get by with 2% raises for Corrections employees or a lot of the employees. We've got to be competitive," Marklein says.
Marklein and Born say they haven't decided yet on Evers' plan to provide $290 million to the Milwaukee Brewers for long-term repairs to American Family Field.
Also uncertain is the size of the tax cut both Republicans and Democrats are promising for Wisconsin residents while wanting to leave more of the state's multi-billion dollar surplus under state control. That's in case of a sudden, major economic downturn.
Action on the proposed state budget is expected this spring.