This morning Governor Tony Evers signed the state budget bill,
, into law as Act 9 after making 78 partial vetoes. Five of those vetoes directly impact municipalities:
Quarry Preemption. The Governor vetoed the quarry preemption language that was inserted into the budget by the Joint Committee on Finance as part of an omnibus transportation motion. Many communities had expressed opposition to this limitation on municipal police and zoning powers.
Use of General Purpose Revenue to Provide a One-time Bump in LRIP Funding. The Governor used his veto pen to reduce from $90 million to $75 million the one time use of general purpose revenue to increase funding for the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP), which is used by cities, villages, towns and counties for local road reconstruction projects. The Governor also requested the Department of Administration secretary not to allot these funds. The Governor said that while additional investment in our local transportation needs is welcome, this provision creates yet another one-time subsidy to the transportation fund and illustrates the missed opportunity to provide a sustainable funding solution that would allow this program to be an ongoing investment in local communities without using the general fund to pay for transportation projects.
The Governor also partially vetoed the relevant sections to remove the limitations placed on the use of the general fund monies (the Legislature had specified $23 million for cities and villages, $32 million for counties, and $35 million for towns to be distributed through an LRIP process) because he objected to the restrictions that these constraints placed on the department to fund grants to the most needed projects throughout the state. The effect of this partial veto is to allow DOT to prioritize the most critical transit and transportation needs.
Use of Volkswagen Settlement Funds. The Governor removed language directing the Department of Administration (DOA) to establish a grant program that would award Volkswagen settlement funds to school boards for the replacement of school buses and require school boards to provide matching funds equal to the amount of the grant award. As a result of the veto, DOA shall establish a more flexible grant program under s. 16.047 (4s) that will award Volkswagen settlement funds to advance the use of alternative
fuels in accordance with the settlement guidelines.
The Governor directed DOA to allocate up to $10,000,000 of the settlement funds to this revised grant program for electric vehicle charging stations, and
at least $15,000,000 for the transit capital
assistance grant program under s. 16.047 (4m).
State Aid Payment to Compensate for Cable Franchise Fee Reduction. The Governor also used his veto pen to modify the newly created state aid program designed to compensate municipalities for the 1 percent reduction in cable franchise fees the Joint Finance Committee included in the state budget. The state aid payment holding communities harmless for the mandated 1% decrease in cable franchise fees was to sunset after ten years. The Governor vetoed the ten-year sunset to make the reimbursement payment ongoing.
Wheel Tax Collection Fee Charged by DOT
. The Governor vetoed a section of the budget requiring the Department of Transportation to charge at least 27 cents per vehicle registration application for municipal or county vehicle registration fees.
Read the Governor's veto message here.