A Senate committee included funding for KRM in its budget fix bill, which passed on Thursday. The bill heads to a vote before the whole Senate on Tuesday. After that, the Senate will have to compromise with the Assembly on a final bill. It's highly unlikely the Assembly will back the plan.
Here's Lehman's statement on the Senate committee's vote:
Senate Finance Committee Adopts Budget Plan
Lehman Votes for Plan That Responsibly Closes Budget Gap, Includes KRM Rail Line
Madison – State Senator John Lehman voted today to advance a balanced and responsible state deficit fix out of the Senate Finance Committee. The bill is slated for a vote before the full Senate next Tuesday.
Lehman commented,” Our budget plan is a balanced and responsible proposal that closes the current budget gap with a mix of cuts and revenue, protects core state programs and gives the go ahead to critical economic development programs like the KRM rail line.”
The Senate plan does not increase sales or income tax rates or property taxes on Wisconsin residents.
Lehman noted that by closing a corporate tax loophole that allows some business to escape paying any state taxes the Senate budget plan delivers a corporate tax rate cut to help out Wisconsin businesses.
Additional highlights of the bill include:
• Authorization for the KRM rail line that will bring in over $100 million in federal construction aid and is estimated to create 3,000 new jobs;
• An additional $40 million in new state spending reductions on top of the $200 million already required in this budget cycle;
• No raids on transportation or any other segregated funds;
• A reduction of the structural deficit of over $270 million compared to the Assembly budget fix;
• Implementation of a hospital assessment that will bring over $400 million in new federal money to increase reimburse rates to hospitals for care given Medical Assistance program enrollees and reduce cost shifting to privately insured patients;
• Protection of local property tax savings including full funding of shared revenue, local school aids including categorical aids and the school levy tax credit.
He concluded, “No one likes our state fiscal situation, but our Senate plan maps out a responsible path forward. We mix spending cuts with investments in economic growth, combine new ways to capture additional federal revenues with closing tax loopholes to help out our local hospitals and reduce the corporate tax rates and at the end of the day have the least borrowing and lowest structural deficit of the three budget repair plans.”