JFC approves transportation package, amended Foxconn bill

Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

The Joint Finance Committee Tuesday approved a GOP transportation package that calls for cutting 200 DOT jobs and pre-empting some local regulations of quarries used for road and construction projects.

The committee also approved an amended version of the $3 billion Foxconn bill 12-4 along party lines that would require appeals in lawsuits filed over the project to head straight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Dems ripped the transportation motion, which cleared 12-4, saying it was full of earmarks and fell well short of the long-term transpo fix Republicans have been promising.

Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, recounted GOP remarks on past budgets hoping for a solution to the state’s transportation funding needs, that they wouldn’t kick the can down the road and that borrowing was getting too high.

Instead, Hintz said, one-third of Republicans’ transportation motion covered new restrictions for local governments to regulate mining while proposing yet another study on funding transportation.

The committee was to reconvene today to continue work on the 2017-19 budget plan.

“The only one who has failed more than this governor is all of you,” the Oshkosh Dem said.

Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, acknowledged there were frustrations on both sides in the transportation debate. But he countered the quarry provisions, for example, were put into the motion because local regs were making it difficult for operators to transport their product to nearby road projects, driving up the cost of that work.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, added the motion’s prevailing wage provisions also would save millions and was one of the solutions that lawmakers could offer taxpayers at this time.

In addition to pushing appeals related to Foxconn to the Supreme Court, any circuit court order vacating, enjoining, reviewing or otherwise related to a decision by a state or local official, board, commission or other entity would be stayed automatically upon the filing of an appeal.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said it was unaware of any similar provision applying to a particular company or enterprise zone such as the one created for Foxconn.

If the Senate approves the amended bill, it would have to go back to the Assembly before it could head to the guv’s desk.

See more at the Budget Blog.

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