THU PM Update: JFC Republicans unveil $483.7 million transportation package

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— JFC Republicans are proposing increases in the registration and title transfer fees as part of a $483.7 million transportation package they plan to take up this evening.

The plan, which doesn’t include a gas tax increase, would boost the registration fee for autos and light trucks $10 to $85. Meanwhile, the title transfer fee would be increased $95 to $164.50. Gov. Tony Evers had proposed a $10 increase for title transfers.

The package also calls for:

*collecting more fees on hybrids.

*eliminating the refund on fuel taxes to vendors to compensate for shrinkage and evaporation losses.

*eliminating the 1.35 percent administrative allowance that licensed motor vehicle suppliers may deduct when remitting the gas tax.

The plan also would include $326 million in bonding, which JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, said would be the lowest amount in nearly two decades. It would be slightly less than the $338.3 million that Evers had proposed, including $45 million in general fund supported borrowing for passenger rail.

— The committee’s agenda today also includes:

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
Kickapoo Reserve Management Board
Public Service Commission — Broadband Provisions
Public Service Commission — Departmentwide and Energy Programs
Revenue — Tax Administration
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Volkswagen Settlement

Follow this evening’s developments in the Budget Blog:

— UW President Ray Cross today called on lawmakers to provide funding to repair and renovate university buildings as the Joint Finance Committee edges closer to taking up Gov. Tony Evers’ capital budget.

The system requested $1.9 billion in projects, but Evers scaled that proposal back to $1.1 billion. Overall, the guv proposed a $2.5 billion capital budget and sought nearly $2 billion in borrowing. But Republicans have vowed to pare back the plan.

Cross’ opening remarks at today’s Board of Regents meeting hosted by UW-Milwaukee closely mirror those he and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank made while speaking with reporters earlier this week. He continued to press for increased funding to pay for what he called “significant updates” to system buildings.

“If we are to attract, to develop and to retain the world-class talent that Wisconsin desperately needs, we need world-class classrooms and added STEM capacity,” Cross said.

Cross went on to praise the role the system plays as a driver of Wisconsin’s economy and workforce.

“We develop the talent in Wisconsin. We attract the talent to Wisconsin. We are Wisconsin’s talent magnet,” Cross said.

The board will reconvene tomorrow for a second day of meetings and leadership elections.

See tomorrow’s agenda:

— Gov. Tony Evers today touted research showing Medicaid expansion would drive down private health insurance premiums as he continued to push to expand the program despite Republican opposition.

The guv highlighted a report from the nonpartisan healthcare journal Health Affairs that found Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin would “substantially lower private health insurance premiums for insurance coverage offered through the health insurance exchange.”

The study came to that conclusion by comparing insurance rates on the exchange in Wisconsin counties to their neighboring counties in states that had expanded Medicaid. The study controlled the results to account for a range of county-level demographic, market and policy characteristics. Private insurance plans offered on the exchange in neighboring states, the study found, were 19 percent lower than in Wisconsin.

In a statement today, Evers urged the GOP to negotiate with him on the expansion, which he said was the “the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do.”

“This should be the easiest decision in the budget. I urge Republicans in the legislature to pay attention to the facts, pay attention to the people of Wisconsin, and work with me to get this done,” he said.

But Republican leggies have yet to indicate a willingness to compromise on the expansion. The GOP-Joint Finance Committee in May voted to strip the guv’s expansion proposal and voted on Tuesday to expand the state’s Medicaid program by $588.2 million in general purpose revenue.

While that investment would draw down an additional $858.4 million in federal funds, it did not embrace the guv’s call to expand the program to make those earning up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. In doing so, the budget panel turned down $1.6 billion in federal dollars and $324 million in state savings.

Republicans have argued that the proposed Medicaid expansion would actually drive up costs for private consumers, citing a study from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy.

A later CROWE study — created by a separate team of economists than the WILL report — found Wisconsin could save $100 million annually by expanding Medicaid because of a reduction in uncompensated care costs. The second study, released in April, said the earlier WILL and CROWE study didn’t hold up.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said last month that Medicaid would be expanded “over our dead bodies.” And JFC Co-Chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, indicated on Tuesday that he had yet to be moved on the topic.

“I will reiterate what has been my stance since day one: I do not believe that expanding welfare is the right path for our state to expand access to care and increase affordability,” he said in a statement.

See the release:

See the study:

— Wisconsin added 233,101 private sector jobs in the eight years Scott Walker was governor, according to the latest quarterly employment numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Before taking office, Walker had pledged to create 250,000 private sector jobs in his first term. But Wisconsin gained fewer than 130,000 private sector jobs during that period, and the latest figures show the state never hit his job creation goal in the eight years he was in office.

Get more info at the BLS site:


AJR 52: Congratulating the Milwaukee Bucks on their 2018-19 season. Referred to Committee on Rules.

AJR 53: Designating June 2019 as Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month. Referred to Committee on Rules.

SJR 44: Supporting the efforts by the State of Wisconsin and others in the Mississippi River Basin to work together to achieve the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan and a reduction of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Referred to Committee on Senate Organization.

SB 255: Regulation of transportation network companies and their drivers and providing a penalty. Referred to Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection.

SB 256: Local regulation of transportation network companies, their drivers, and the drivers’ vehicles. Referred to Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection.

SB 257: Eliminating the personal property tax and making an appropriation. Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions.

SB 258: Creating a grant program to support after-school and out-of-school-time programs, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Referred to Committee on Education.

SB 259: Trauma-informed care position grants and making an appropriation. Referred to Committee on Health and Human Services.

SB 260: changing the 12 percent rule regarding the total value of taxable property included in the creation of a tax incremental financing district in the village of Ontario. Referred to Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Trade.

SB 261: Underage sexual activity. Referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

SB 262: Eliminating personal conviction exemption from immunizations. Referred to Committee on Health and Human Services.

SB 263: Bills making honorary designations of state highways or bridges. Referred to Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs.

Track bills for free:

State Journal: Wisconsin appeals court upholds right to receive electronic copies of public records

Journal Sentinel: Budget committee to meet as Republicans struggle to come up with plan to fund roads

WPR: Meteor Timber Takes DNR To Court Seeking Wetland Fill For Frac Sand Facility

State Journal: UW-Madison reviewed admissions policies in wake of national scandal and made 2 changes

Journal Sentinel: Tony Evers administration seeks to head off stripping large dairy regulation from DNR

State Journal: Wisconsin’s 2018 job growth was slowest of the Scott Walker era

WPR: With Farmers Taking On More Debt, Wisconsin Officials Warn Against Unregulated Lenders

Politico: Pelosi tells Dems she wants to see Trump ‘in prison’

Politico: Robert Mueller could be subpoenaed in the next two weeks

Reuters: U.S. pushes Mexico for more in talks over tariffs and border

Reuters: House Democrats move to fight Trump’s stonewalling in court

Washington Post: Trump signs disaster relief bill delayed for months by his opposition to Puerto Rico aid

Washington Post: Border apprehensions are up more than 1,000 percent since April 2017


– 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.: MMAC Expert Series: “Building the Skills for Tomorrow.” Speaker is Steve Buchman, senior manager within the Accenture Talent and Organization practice.

– 9 a.m.: Board of Regents meeting.

– 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: June 7: and discussion: “Closing the Urban-Rural Health Care Gap. Dr. Tim Bartholow, chief medical officer of Health Tradition, will provide opening remarks. A panel discussion follows with Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse; Wally Orzechowski, of the Southwest Community Action Program; Dr. Paul S. Mueller, chair of Mayo Clinic’s general internal medicine; and Dr. Erik Gundersen, medical director of the Kwik Trip Center for Health and incoming president of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

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