The governor's tax on big oil profits has made it through the budget committee. The Joint Finance Committee deadlocked on a 8-8 vote, meaning the tax stays in the budget for now. Racine Republican Representative Robin Vos said, with gas prices at current levels, the state could haul in $142 million more than initially projected by Governor Jim Doyle's administration. "That sounds like a gusher of money, that's going to be coming in," said Vos. "And you know who's going to be paying that? The families of Wisconsin." Vos and other Republicans also argued that the tax could be challenged in court, and the state would lose. Democrat Representative Mark Pocan of Madison countered both assertions: "to me it sounds like a gusher of excuses for big oil." The budget writing panel hopes to wrap up its work next week, and Pocan charged Republicans have no ideas about how else to come up with the revenue that the tax on big oil would raise. Another key element of the Doyle plan, a $20 vehicle registration fee increase, also stays in the budget for now.
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