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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

 2:42 PM 

"Supermajority" bill passes Senate

A bill requiring a two-thirds or "supermajority" vote of the Legislature to increase the state sales, income or franchise tax passed is headed to the guv's desk.

The Senate today passed the bill on a 20-12 vote. Sen. Julie Lassa of Stevens Point was the only Dem to vote in favor of the bill, which was introduced as part of Gov. Scott Walker's special session on the economy.

Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said taxpayers are demanding a higher threshold to increase taxes.

"This sends a clear message to the people of Wisconsin that we're serious about our commitment to not raise taxes," she said.

Democrats derided the bill as disingenuous and unenforceable.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said it as a "waste of time."

"This is a meaningless, useless piece of legislation not worth the paper it's written on," he said.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, said the bill would be more sincere if it included a similar standard for increasing fees, which he said have steadily risen while taxes have not. He said the bill is unnecessary.

"If you don't want to vote for tax increases, then don't," he said. "This is nothing but pure campaign material."

A handful of Dem amendments were defeated, including amendments from Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, to include increasing gas taxes, decreasing school aids, raising property taxes and other components in the bill.

The Assembly passed the bill in January on a 57-36 vote. The bill would only apply to the current Legislature, though Vukmir said a constitutional amendment will follow.

"You either starve the beast or you feed the beast. And we've been feeding the beast for far too long," Vukmir said.


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