Capitol Report – The simple truth
By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The legislation was debated in both houses last week and then signed into law a scant two days after the state Assembly gave its approval.
This begs the question: Why the big rush all of a sudden?
In truth, fast-tracking legislation is nothing new, Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of using this political maneuver.
But, this GOP-controlled Legislature, under the current Governor Scott Walker, has taken this particular strategy to new heights (or lows, depending on one’s perspective).
Naturally, the two-year, $100 million increase in state school aid drew effusive praise from Republican lawmakers.
They contend that Walker’s tax cut plan is a good first step and delivers on their commitment to hold down state spending and cut taxes.
Moreover, the GOP believes that this $100 million infusion will provide a significant boost to the sluggish state economy.
Moreover, analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau found that homeowners in about 80 of the state’s more than 420 school districts won’t receive any appreciable increase in state aid from the bill to lower their local property taxes.
Milwaukee Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, would receive an estimated $2.9 in additional aid for property tax relief, a 0.6 percent increase over its current general school aid.
Funding for the Mequon-Thiensville School District, on the other hand, would remain essentially flat, with just $292 more for that district.
The property tax cut and several other economic bills being pushed by Walker and GOP lawmakers would lower the state’s balance by $120 million in the current two-year budget and add $180 million to the shortfall in the next budget, according to estimates by the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.
And lastly, Walker’s sudden rush to deliver on property taxes may be attributed, in large measure, to the candidacy of Mary Burke.