Tweaks to bill on funding local government likely, lawmakers poised to vote next week

NOW: Tweaks to bill on funding local government likely, lawmakers poised to vote next week

MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- Assembly Republicans advanced a massive bill to overhaul how the state funds its local governments out of committee Thursday, even though changes to the proposal are likely before a vote on the floor next week.

The Assembly Committee on Local Governments voted along party lines 8-4 to fast-track the multi-million-dollar shared revenue bill in its current form, which Gov. Tony Evers vowed to veto, but the committee chair said last minute changes are coming ahead of the Assembly and Senate scheduled to be in session next week.   

"They want to do one amendment, to put in everything and negotiate it on the floor," said Rep. Todd Novak, the Republican chair of the committee. "Everything is on the table right now."

The Dodgeville Republican did not elaborate on what the amendment will include as Democrats, Gov. Evers, and Milwaukee leaders continue to negotiate with GOP leadership.

The $277 million proposal would give every municipality a boost in funding and includes a series of restrictions on local governments Democrats and county officials oppose. Those provisions in the bill are what led Evers to call for changes, or else he said he'd reject the bill.

Under a new shared revenue formula, 20% of all state sales tax revenue would go toward cities and counties. Wisconsin imposes a five-cent sales tax on every dollar spent, with exceptions for certain essential items.

During committee, Democrats attempted to remove some of the policy proposal incorporated in the bill, but Republicans rejected it.

"This process was rushed. It was not ready and frankly this process is dysfunctional," said Rep. Clinton Anderson (D-Beloit).

Beyond giving municipalities more money, the bill includes policy proposals targeting Milwaukee such as requiring the city and county to put police officers back in schools and limiting how they can spend new revenue.

Both would also be allowed to raise their sales tax through referendum, a measure Rep. Bob Donovan (R-Milwaukee) defended as part of the negotiation process.

"That's the give and take and that's how you arrive at consensus," Donovan said. "That's an agreement by giving a little and taking a little."

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