Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate and Assembly have not met for a week, and remain at odds over funding for transportation and K-12 education. It’s an impasse that has stalled negotiations on the state budget.
On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos sent a memo to the state’s largest business lobbying group, and other companies and organizations with a stake in the state’s roads.
“Time is of the essence,” Vos wrote. “In order to be considered part of a potential solution, we ask that you please get back to us by Monday, July 10 with how you would propose to close the $1 billion deficit so we can upgrade the roads that you depend on to run your businesses.”
The letter was sent to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and 14 other industry groups and companies, including Wisconsin-based trucking firms Schneider National and Roehl Transport.
Last week, Vos’ Assembly Republicans proposed imposing a new fee on heavy trucks. WMC said that would increase the costs of doing business in Wisconsin, and Senate Republicans quickly opposed the idea.
“WMC is pleased that the punitive tax on heavy trucks appears to be dead,” said Scott Manley, WMC Senior Vice President of Government Relations. “We look forward to working with lawmakers and Governor Walker on ways to address Wisconsin’s infrastructure needs, and we accept Speaker Vos’s invitation to provide ideas. Reasonable people may disagree on how much additional revenue is needed, but we hope everyone can agree that overspending by $3 billion on 16 projects is unacceptable. Wisconsin is already overburdened by taxes. Any discussion of revenue increases must include meaningful reforms to reduce costs and spend our current resources more wisely. WMC is encouraged that DOT Secretary Dave Ross is already making progress in this regard.”
“I trust we can all agree that our state’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair,” the memo from Vos said. “Without new revenue, construction will halt and costs will increase as projects are delayed.”