Top Wisconsin Senate Republican Unhappy with ‘Line in the Sand’ over Shared Revenue Specifics

by Benjamin Yount


The prospects for Wisconsin’s shared revenue plan got a bit dimmer Thursday after the top Republican in the State Senate said his half of the legislature wants a slightly different plan of their own.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu told reporters Thursday morning that the Senate will hold some public hearings, then vote on a version of the shared revenue proposal that Senators agree upon.

“It’s unfortunate that [Assembly Speaker Robin Vos] is drawing a line in the sand now with his version of the bill and stopping negotiations on the bill that not everybody’s in agreement on,” LeMahieu (pictured above) said.

Vos declared on Wednesday that the Assembly is “done negotiating,” and would not be “accepting changes” to the shared revenue legislation.

That means the plan to share about $500 million with local governments across the state may not pass this spring.

One of the issues is whether Milwaukee and Milwaukee County voters should have a say in whether their sales taxes are raised.

Vos says yes, while LeMahieu is worried a tax hike vote could fail.

“It likely won’t include a referendum vote, because I think that would not fix the problems in my view, because I think a referendum vote would fail,” LeMahieu said. “So I think the way to do it is through a vote by the common council and the county board.”

Vos said the Assembly considered a city council and county board vote, but also said Milwaukee’s mayor rejected the idea because Republicans wanted that vote to be unanimous.

LeMahieu on Thursday sent a not-so-gentle reminder to Vos that the Assembly doesn’t own the legislative process.

“You know, there are two houses in the state Legislature,” he said. “We’re going to do our due diligence, make sure we have a bill that at least all the stakeholders can get behind, and if the Assembly at some point refuses to take up that bill, a bill that was going to make generational changes to townships, counties, municipalities all around the state, he’s going to have to answer to his caucus.”

Gov. Tony Evers has stayed out of the intra-Republican feud, and is sticking with his statement from Wednesday that said he is optimistic about future negotiations.

Milwaukee Common Council President Jose Perez said Thursday that he too is “optimistic that we will see additional improvements” in the shared revenue plan.

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Devin LeMahieu” by Senator Devin LeMahieu. Background Photo “Wisconsin State Capitol” by Teemu008. CC BY-SA 2.0.


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