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Swearingen Says Funding Transportation Cloudy


Governor Scott Walker has scheduled a joint session of the legislature next month to present his budget proposal for the next two years.

There has been a sharp divide among majority Republicans about how best to close a $1 billion deficit in the Transportation fund and begin to repair roads that some have said are crumbling.

State Representative Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander says leaders are at odds about a solution.

Governor Walker says he won't approved a tax increase or a registration fee increase without cuts elsewhere in the budget. Swearingen says something needs to be done...

".....our Speaker, Robin Vos, is challenging the Governor on that thought, saying we need to quit kicking the can down the road and put some money into the road fund. None of us went to Madison to raise taxes, but we are maintaining the stance that we think that everything should be on the table...."

Swearingen says that might include toll roads along federal roads in southern Wisconsin, or a mix of solutions. Walker is expected to present options during his budget address February 8.

In 2005, the Republican-led legislature voted to end the automatic gas tax increases and require lawmakers to annually vote on any tax changes. Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, signed that change into law. The automatic increase in the tax adjusted for inflation on April 1 each year between 1985 and 2005. The final year, the tax increased less than a penny a gallon.

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