If the Assembly wants to pursue higher gas taxes or vehicle registration fees to pay for roads, Governor Scott Walker says it will be up to them to figure out how to offset them in some other way.
Assembly Republicans have argued all options should be on the table, as the state looks to close a $1 billion deficit in the transportation fund.
While Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says that does not necessarily mean they want to jump directly to a tax increase, he believes it should be an option available, so that roads do not deteriorate or state debt increases. “I want to look at every possible option, savings first, prioritizing projects…and if all of those are exhausted, then maybe we look at a revenue increase, as opposed to more borrowing,” Vos told WRN in a recent interview.
The governor says it’s fine for the Legislature to explore multiple options, as long as the budget they send him next summer includes an equal tax reduction in another area. Walker has repeatedly said he will veto any state budget that raises taxes or fees, without some sort of offset. The governor says that could take the form of an income or sales tax cut, as long as it equally effects people throughout the state. Still, he says “it’s on the Legislature” to offer a proposal.
As it was during the 2014 session, road funding is likely to be a main point of contention for lawmakers next spring as they work on the next state budget.