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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

 1:44 PM 

Transportation fund resolution turns into debate on Walker's budget plans

The substitute amendment proposed by some of the Democrats prompted a debate on Gov. Scott Walker's plans to pour general purpose revenue into the transportation fund.

Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said the Dem amendment would seek to block GPR from being poured into the state transportation fund. He said that he wanted to make sure that the state was putting education before transportation and said that the transportation fund is supposed to be self-sustaining based on the gas tax and registration fees. He added that the Walker administration did not have the "intestinal fortitude" to look at those funding sources.

Cullen also criticized any plan to sell off state power plants and place those funds and other GPR funds into the transportation fund. He claimed that the state would likely have to pay to upgrade outdated plants before they would be sold off.

"If you think they're really going to buy these power plants and take a loss, I think you've got another guess coming," Cullen said

Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said he agreed with every point made by Cullen, but that shouldn't be inserted into a resolution to protect the fund from further raids.

"I will be along side him making sure we put kids ahead of transportation," Schultz said. "Everything he said makes sense, but it's not the issue today."

Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, added that the sub amendment would simply take the resolution back to first consideration.

That substitute amendment was tabled on a 19-14 vote, with Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, joining the GOP.

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