Some key issues could be decided today by the Legislature's Budget Committee, including whether to approve Governor Jim Doyle's franchise fee on oil companies.
"Our first priority is to take the anti-pass through language that says the oil companies and jobbers can't pass the cost of business on to consumers at the pump," says Erin Roth of the Wisconsin Petroleum Council. "We think that's unconstitutional"
His group has been lobbying instead for a straight-up three cent increase in the gas tax. "There's a group of 13 of us who've signed on to that proposal, says Roth, noting that there's been opposition from Democrats in the state Senate.
"We've lobbied and lobbied, can't even lobby it anymore because they're not talking. The Assembly I think will go to a straight up gas tax, it's just Russ won't move," says Roth, refering to Wausau-area Democrat Russ Decker, the Majority Leader in the state Senate. Governor Doyle has recently indicated he's willing to abandon his tax on oil companies, in exchange for a three cent hike in the gas tax.