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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

 6:15 PM 

Assembly backs supermajority requirement for tax increases

The Assembly passed a bill requiring a supermajority of both legislative houses to enact tax increases by a 57-36 margin.

Republicans turned away four Dem amendments, including measures to include fees in the bill and to require consideration of the state's deficit. Democrats charged that the bill would handicap future legislatures and state budgets.

"We'll have to finance our operating budgets with debt. We'll have to raid segregated funds and transfer funds," said Rep. Louis Molepske, D-Stevens Point. "Don't budget by gimmick."

Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau, said he would love to have a discussion about the state's tax burden, but that the bill would prevent lawmakers from making even minor adjustments in the future.

"These kinds of supermajorities lead to an inability to govern in the long term," Danou said.

The bill's author, freshman Rep. Tyler August, R-Walworth, said Dem calls for fiscal responsibility were "laughable."

"They want it harder to raise taxes in this building," August said of his constituents.

"It's time to stop feeding the beast, and taxes feed it."


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