Legislative Update

The Wisconsin Assembly and Senate are both in session this week. A $100 million tax cut proposed by Governor Scott Walker is a top priority for action this week, with several other proposals under consideration.

Walker announced his intention to introduce a $100 million tax cut last Thursday. The governor’s plan diverts a budget surplus to local school districts, which would then lower property taxes. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the average property owner would see a $33 tax cut over the next two years. The plan, along with several other budget proposals, will increase the state’s structural deficit by 33 percent by 2015-17. The proposal has been approved by the Joint Finance Committee and will be taken up by the Senate later today.

Other legislation under consideration this week:

Team mascots bill (AB 297) — This bill will make it easier for Wisconsin school districts to keep race-based mascots.

Higher speed limit (AB 389) — This bill will raise the speed limit on Wisconsin Interstate highways and other 4-lane highways with medians from 65 to 70 miles per hour.

Underage drinking (AB 61) — This bill will allow businesses that sell alcohol to sue people younger than 21 for $1,000 who try to purchase liquor.

Landlord-tenant relations (SB 179) — This bill makes it easier for landlords to remove or dispose of cars and belongings of tenants. It will also allow landlords to evict tenants if a crime is committed on the rental property.

ETA: The Wisconsin Senate voted to pass the property tax bill 28-5. Senators Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), Robert Jauch (D-Poplar), John Lehman (D-Racine), Mark Miller (D-Monona), and Fred Risser (D-Madison) voted against the proposal.