Yeah, here we go:
Sixteen lawmakers on their own could impose fees of any amount to help pay for roads under a plan Republican legislators advanced late Thursday.
The proposal would allow the Joint Finance Committee to establish new fees based on how many miles vehicles drove, starting in 2023. The rest of the Legislature wouldn’t get a say in the matter under the plan.
Republicans on the committee included the provision in a massive transportation package they added to the state budget Thursday.
After years of being unable to put together comprehensive transportation plans…even in years that the Republicans held not only both houses of the legislature but also the governor’s office…they still can’t pull it off. Even when they should supposedly be unified against a Democratic governor.
But who would have expected that they’d pull another all out power grab and deny representation to their constituents and the residents of the state. Oh yeah…I know they are calling these ‘fees’…but when the state collects revenues from citizens and businesses for any purpose they are actually taxes.
But this is really egregious…Wisconsin has 33 state senators and 99 members of the assembly but are ready to allow 16 committee members to determine taxes to be levied against Wisconsinites. With barely any controls…they can demand millions of dollars for transportation without the other 116 representatives weighing in on it.
Taxes and fees should always…always…be discussed openly in the legislature. Every representative should have an opportunity to weigh in and have their vote recorded. Every resident should have their chance to weigh in with their assembly representative and their state senator. Every resident should know how their reps voted so they can decide how to vote during the next election cycle.
I don’t even know if this would pass constitutional muster but it shouldn’t even get that far. If you are concerned about this newest power grab, let your state representatives know. If this actually makes it into the GOP’s Frankenstein budget I don’t think it will survive the governor’s veto pen.