No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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The penultimate budget is in the pipeline

Revisions and extensions part 13 (7:09 pm 6/26/2009) – Since the DemoBudget has passed the Assembly 51-46, and we’re now at the final act of the biennial sign-and-hack from Gov. Jim Doyle, I’ll be updating a fresh post rather than this one.

Revisions and extensions part 4 (12:42 am 6/26/2009) – Moved up to the top (originally posted 6/25/2009 at 10:58 pm) with the 17-15 Senate passage (despite no bill text available). The most-vulnerable Dem Senator, Jim Sullivan, was again allowed to vote “no”. Start packing your bags.

R&E part 5 (12:59 am 6/26/2009) – Finally found the amendment text, which modifies the Senate version (as amended by a pair of amendments). Sorry I don’t have a clean-text version.

I have to thank Kevin Fischer, Sen. Mary Lazich’s (R-New Berlin) aide, for pointing me to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s comparison between the Assembly changes, Senate changes, and Conference Committee’s changes to the Joint Finance Committee Daughter-of-Necrobudget. This will be the version that Jim “Chainsaw” Doyle (WEAC/HoChunk-For Sale) will take his veto pen to because under state law, it cannot be amended by the full Legislature. Of course, as of 10:47 pm, WisPolitics’ budget blog doesn’t have the full text of the final substitute to AB75 (the budget bill), but apparently the 24-hour clock started ticking about 8:15 pm.

I haven’t done a hard analysis yet, but it just keeps on getting worse. From Sen. Lazich:

  • Total spending is up $4,000,000,000, or 6%.
  • The state-level/RTA-level increases in taxes are $2,100,000,000.
  • Total property taxes will go up $1,500,000,000, with the median home property taxes going up $90 at the end of this year and $130 at the end of 2010.
  • Borrowing increases by $2,900,000,000.
  • The structural deficit (how far in the hole the FY2012-2013 budget will start) is $2,300,000,000.

In case you missed the math, the total 2-year tax increase will be $3,600,000,000. There’s also a few kickers (straight to the nuts delivered with steel-toed boots) I want to get out there tonight:

  • The statutory general fund reserve will be halved to $65,000,000 for the duration of the budget. That is necessary because the FY2011 “net balance”, with that change, would be $149,100. No, that is not a misprint – that is less than the salary of the average full-tenured UW professor.
  • Drop the current 60% exemption on long-term capital gains to 30%, except for certain farm property/equipment. That represents a 2-year $242,500,000 tax increase from current law and a $72,300,000 tax increase from the Joint Finance Committee/governor version of the budget.
  • The KRM/SERTA Assembly provisions pretty much are final, except that it wouldn’t be the sole clearinghouse for federal grant money for the transit companies/authorities in southeast Wisconsin. To resummarize:
    • The car-rental tax in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties would go up from the current $2 collected by the soon-to-be-replaced Regional Transit Taxing Authority (the one that used $450,000 of its $500,000 tax take to lobby for higher taxes) to $18, $2 higher than the JFC/Senate version.
    • The Racine bus system and Kenosha bus system would each get $1/car rental from that only if the host city matched the funds. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Racine) told me earlier this evening that the only acceptable method would be a $10/car wheel tax.
    • Any other community in either Racine County or Kenosha County that wants a stop on the KRM would need to dedicate a “sustainable funding mechanism” to their respective county seat’s bus system. I failed to ask Rep. Vos what that definition was, but I suspect that it would also be a $10/car wheel tax.
  • The “prevailing wage” provisions would apply to both SERTA and the Milwaukee Transit Taxing Authority (the former was added by the Senate, the latter by the conference committee).
  • Speaking of the Milwaukee Transit Taxing Authority, the Assembly 0.65% sales tax plan is adopted, with Lee Holloway getting a third person on the board.
  • The Chippewa Valley and Chequamegon Bay (Bayfield/Ashland Counties, which I somehow missed in the Senate version) RTAs live on, but the Fox Valley RTA is dead.
  • Sen. Jeff Plale’s last-ditch attempt to get the state to pay for 75% of a I-94/Drexel Interchange instead of the usual 50% (since Franklin and Northwestern Mutual reneged on verbal agreements to pay for 25% and Oak Creek will not pay the full 50% local cost) is out, which means no I-94/Drexel Interchange.

There’s a lot more, but I’m too tired to keep going.

Revisions/extensions (11:15 pm 6/25/2009) - I decided to add the major points of the KRM tax to this post.

R&E parts 2 and 3 (12:36 am 6/26/2009 and 12:37 am 6/26/2009) - Good news/bad news on the illegal alien front – the illegal-alien drivers’ licenses are out, but the illegal-alien in-state tuition is still in.

Also, despite the continued lack of the actual bill over at WisPolitics, the Senate has taken this up, mostly because Alan Lassee (R-De Pere) is absent attending to his ill wife, and thus two Dems can safely vote “no” lost track of the math.

R&E parts 6 (8:26 am 6/26/2009) and 7 (8:31 am 6/26/2009) - Jo Egelhoff (who gave me entirely too much credit) found that card-check union organizing for UW research assistants is in the budget. AFSCME and SEIU bought this government, and the Dems, specifically Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, who snuck it in in conference, are bound and determined to give them their moneys’ worth.

Meanwhile, Christian Schneider found that the chiropractors got another leg up on regular doctors. Any bets on the donation splits from them in the 2010 election cycle?

R&E part 8 (9:03 am 6/26/2009)As noted above, the mandate for a UW-Stevens Point school of nursing and the requirement to spend just over $3 million for advance planning for a new UW-Madison school of nursing building, slated for construction in the FY2012-2013 budget, is in there. Paging East Side Plale.

R&E part 9 (2:34 pm 6/26/2009) - Brett Healy over at the MacIver Institute lists the dirty dozen items in this version of the budget. Items I haven’t listed yet:

  • Use $3,333,400 in general revenues to provide “engineering services” in Milwaukee, made out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan.
  • Rob $1,800,000 from five Milwaukee-area school districts, Oconomowoc, Mequon-Thiensville, Fox Point-Bayside and Nicolet, and give that to the Madison school district, again created out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan.
  • Full-speed death of the Qualified Economic Offer, same as Doyle’s, the Senate’s, and WEAC’s wishes (once again, the purchaser of this government gets what it bought).
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, extend in-state tuition benefits in the UW system to all foreign nationals, not just the illegal aliens I noted earlier. Supposedly said foreign nationals will need to swear that they either applied to become permanent residents or that they will once and if they become eligible to do so.
  • Make sure the portions of state government that get shut down as the result of either the hiring freeze or a furlough stays shut down, just as the Senate and AFSCME ordered (again, the purchaser of this government gets what it bought).
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, move up the start date of the new $0.75/line/month 911 fee from the later of 10/1 or 3 months after the budget is signed to 9/1, for an additional $5,000,000.
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, redirect $9,200,000 of a $37,000,000 raid from the Petroleum Inspection Fund (funded by a $0.02/gallon tax on gas and diesel) from the transportation fund to the general fund.

I can only wonder just how much more will be found after the 24-hour circuit breaker the Assembly has gets reset. In fact, I’m surprised that in their rush to remake the entirety of state government into a secretive chamber of lawmakers lawgivers, the Democrats didn’t get rid of that circuit breaker.

R&E part 10 (3:22 pm 6/26/2009) - While mandatory auto insurance, first put in by the Senate, as well as the highest minimums in the country, first put in by Doyle, is part of this, Recess Supervisor found a pair of stinkers added in out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan at the insistence of Pedro Colon and the Legislative Black Caucus – new insurees can’t be put into a high-risk category because they never had insurance before, and insurance companies can’t assign risk based on where a vehicle is kept. That’s right, those of you upstate and in the burbs get to subsidize the accident- and theft-prone in the hearts of Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) has more on this, including the fact that the soon-to-be-law Wisconsin ban on area-based risk will be the the only one of its kind in the nation, and that other states (like Michigan) rejected it. Once again, Michigan beats us.

R&E part 11 (yes, we are that far, and there’s still time before the Assembly rubber-stamps this, 4:58 pm 6/26/2009) - Cathy Stepp found a stinker of an item from the Assembly version that popped back in – the allowance of the Department of Commerce to promulgate the initial rules for the new construction contractor registration program as “emergency rules without the finding of an emergency”, with the rule lasting . Using the emergency rules power under s. 227.24 of the state statues means no prior consideration for small business as provided by s. 227.114, no review regarding its effect on housing as provided by s. 227.115, no economic impact report as provided by s. 227.137, no advance copies provided to the Legislative Council staff as provided by s. 227.15, no prior hearings or notice thereof as provided by s. 227.16, 227.17 and 227.18, no prior legislative review as provided by s. 227.19, and no time to prepare for its implementation between its publication in the official state newspaper (or state website as provided by other provisions in the budget) and the first day of the following month as provided by s. 227.21.

There’s more agencies that get to implement “emergency rules” without the finding of an emergency, including the Department of Revenue’s new requirement to impose a 1% tax withholding on independent contractors (originally in the Assembly version).

R&E part 12 (5:03 pm 6/26/2009) - Greg Bump, who has been the on-the-scene man, reports that, after agreeing to waive the 24-hour rule, the Assembly will begin their rubber-stamping process at 5:30. He also posted the request from the little piggies known as the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities to Doyle to use his veto pen to eliminate the 7/1/2011 sunset of the $0.75/line police/fire protection tax (formerly known as the 911 tax) and eliminate the loosening of fireworks laws. I’m shocked, SHOCKED to see the spenders squealing for the continuation of a brand-new tax.

As an aside, I will be creating a fresh post when the Assembly does rubber-stamp what Kevin Binversie has freshly deemed the DemoBudget. Very apt name, don’t you think?

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