LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Governor Scott Walker made a stop at Colgan Air Services in La Crosse Thursday.
His talking points mirrored those of his state of the state address Tuesday. Walker says in the next budget cycle he wants to cut income tax, develop the work force and improve infrastructure.
A report out Thursday from the Transportation Finance and Policy Commission recommends to state lawmakers that the gas tax be increased by 5 cents to generate revenue for infrastructure improvements. Walker says he wants to find other ways to fund transportation-related projects and does not support the gas tax hike.
"If you look back at the money that was taken out of previous budgets for the transportation fund, there's about, the last estimate from the state budget office, about $135 million," Walker said. "That, if they were to over time between what we did last budget and what we do in the future, if we could pay that back, it'd be about $135 million, that would be a starting point there. There might be some other alternative, but I think in terms of a gas tax, that's really a non starter."
Also at Walker's stop was Democrat Sen. Jennifer Shilling. She says infrastructure funding is necessary, but agrees with Walker that a tax hike is probably not the way to do it.
"The commission has a identified about a $6-8 billion deficit in the next 10 years in the transportation fund, and so they put the ideas on the table, if it's automatic indexing, toll roads, if it's a per mile fee, so those ideas are put forward," Shilling said. "But, I don't' think right now there is an appetite in the legislature to go ahead with a gas tax."
The Transportation Finance and Policy Commission report says if gas taxes are increased, along with vehicle registration and license fees, it could generate about $479 million a year.
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