Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Senate released a package of changes to the state budget early Friday designed to win the support of several GOP colleagues and ensure passage of the bill, and the Senate then adopted the revised proposal. The following are details from the proposal:
An accounting move to shift $268 million from one state fund to another. The move would have no impact on the amount of overall spending. But it would allow lawmakers to say they spend less general purpose revenue
They proposed a further reduction to the budgets of state agencies by $100 million over the next two years. However, state agencies would be able to submit requests to the Legislature's budget committee to receive almost all of the money taken away.
A requirement for nonunion state employees to contribute the first 1.5 percent paid toward their retirements. The change would save the state $42.2 million over the two-year period.
The restoration of $7.3 million in sales tax revenue retailers receive for processing paperwork related to reporting sales tax revenues. The Legislature's budget committee had reduced how much retailers would be compensated.
A new tax credit for those who adopt a child, saving those parents $5.3 million in the second year of the budget.
A new tax credit for parents who home school their children or send them to private school, saving those parents $14.6 million per year.
A reduction in state funding for UW-Madison by $1 million over the two-year period.
A new plan to limit state spending. Any tax revenue the state received above the allowable limits would go into a rainy day fund. It would require the governor's recommendation and a three-fourths vote by the Legislature to tap into that money. Once it hit 10 percent of the general purpose revenue the state collects in a year, the money above that amount would be sent back to taxpayers. For the current fiscal year, the state would have to have about $1.1 billion in the fund before taxpayers would see any money.
A change in the state's aid formula for public schools that would impact 117 school districts. Any of those districts would be allowed to use money they have in reserves to pay for unfunded pension liabilities or debt without losing state aid because they
increased their spending.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)