Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Thursday rejected an idea put forward by the Republican leaders of the Legislature’s budget committee to take up transportation funding in a separate bill outside the normal budget process.
Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said they support the option, which could extend debate about how to fund transportation beyond the July 1 start of the 2017-19 biennium.
It could also change the political dynamics of how a deal on transportation is reached, allowing minority Democrats who otherwise wouldn’t vote for a majority Republican-authored budget to boost one of the GOP factions on the contentious issue.
Here’s what Speaker Vos and others are up to… they want a tax increase for transportation. They know that they will not get that passed through the Republican caucus and Democrats won’t vote for the budget. So the tax increase is DOA. But if they split off transportation from the rest of the budget, they think that they can cobble together the tax-increasing group of Republicans and just enough Democrats get a tax increase passed.
But beyond political concerns, it does not make any sense to split off transportation from the rest of the budget. The whole purpose of writing a budget is to balance priorities against each other within the confines of limited resources. Splitting off a massive portion for separate consideration obliterates the budgeting process.