Senate Democrats Propose a Return to the Tax and Spend Policies of the Past

Floor Amendments Would Have Increased Spending by $1.64 Billion and Taxes by $646 Million

June 26, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] Senate Democrats proposed amendments that would have increased spending $1.64 billion and increased taxes $646 million last week on the Senate floor, according to an analysis of their more than 50 introduced amendments completed by the MacIver Institute.

None of the amendments were passed by the Republican-controlled Senate during debate last Thursday.

One amendment was a direct attack on the reforms set in place by Act 10 – reforms that have saved the state more than $2 billion – by essentially repealing the law. The provision would have restored collective bargaining rights to all state and local employees, removed the requirements that public unions recertify annually, and reinstated the automatic deductions of union dues from state employee paychecks.

The amendment would also have required state agencies to pay a minimum of four percent of their employees’ earnings to the Wisconsin Retirement System, which comes out to $312 million.

Another Democrat amendment would have deleted the $648 million tax cut and funneled $640 million of the money into increased funding for K-12 public schools. This $640 million dollar increase would have been in addition to the Republican plan that increased funding by $416 million.

Several of the Senate Democrats’ amendments dealt with Governor Scott Walker’s plan to reject the Medicaid expansion. Senate Amendment 13, authored by Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), proposed that Wisconsin accept the federal dollars to expand Medicaid and increase funding for treatment of individuals that abuse drugs and alcohol. The amendment would have increased spending by nearly $477 million.

In addition to massive spending increases, the Democrats’ amendments would have increased taxes by up to $646 million. They introduced amendments that would have deleted the Republican income tax cut of $648 million and removed the $30 million private school tuition tax deduction from the budget.

Democrats also attempted to restore Stewardship bonding, which was reduced by JFC. That provision would have increased borrowing by $63.5 million so the state could purchase private property.

The minority party also proposed amendments that would make significant policy changes to the budget including restoring residency requirements in cities like Milwaukee. The Senate voted to table 31 of the 54 amendments and the rest were automatically tabled when the agreed upon 12 hours of time for debate expired.

Senate Republicans went on to pass the Governor’s budget as amended 17-16 early Friday morning. Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) was the only Republican to vote against the budget in the Senate. The budget bill now awaits Governor Walker’s vetoes and signature. The current fiscal year ends June 30th.