Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha” slammed Senate Republicans for shooting down Assembly GOP proposals to raise revenues for transportation while simultaneously backing an additional $850 million in borrowing for roads.
A group of five GOP senators said Friday they wouldn’t support a new fee on heavy trucks proposed by GOP Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, likely killing a plan that had been discussed by the guv and Republican leadership.
The five senators — Dave Craig, of West Bend; Steve Nass, of Whitewater; Chris Kapenga, of Delafield; Frank Lasee, of De Pere; and Duey Stroebel, of Saukville — argued the recent DOT audit shows the agency does not “deserve new revenues” and instead the state should be looking for savings.
But Steineke, R-Kaukauna, criticized the five for making that comment at the same time Senate GOP leadership is supporting $850 million in new bonding for roads.
“It’s kind of ironic they’re willing to borrow and spend, but they don’t want to pay as you go,” Steineke said on the show, which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Steineke said he agrees reform is needed within the Department of Transportation, but that reforms alone won’t solve a roughly $1 billion deficit in the transportation fund.
While he was optimistic a deal could be reached, Steineke expressed frustration at the Senate GOP for rejecting the Assembly’s proposals.
“The Assembly has proposed solution after solution after solution, and all we keep hearing from some senators is ‘no,’ but no real solid plan coming back other than running up the state’s credit card to pay for things,” Steineke said.
Without an agreement, Steineke said the budget would revert back to spending levels from two years ago, which could result in projects being delayed or shelved.
“We’re going to have to come to some kind of agreement or we’re going to end up at the base budget from two years ago,” Steineke said. “If that’s the way we’re heading, I think it’s a disservice to the state, but it’s better than putting more costs onto the credit card that we can’t afford.”
Also on the show, Gousha sat down with Cathy Myers, a teacher and vice president of the Janesville School Board, who’s running as a Democrat against House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville.
Myers said a key issue with her is health care, and she criticized House Republicans’ health care plan and the proposal the Senate is considering.
Myers said health care a right and that she supports single-payer health care. She also expressed her opposition to the Enbridge pipeline expansion in the district.
Others challenging Ryan include Dems David Yankovich and Randy Bryce, and Republican Paul Nehlen, who lost badly to Ryan in the 2016 GOP primary.
Watch the show: http://www.wisn.com/upfront