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Seeking common ground on budget

Paul Snyder
[email protected]

The state Legislature’s budget conference committee has a long to-do list before striking a compromise between the Senate and Assembly versions of the spending package.

The following list breaks down, according to budget topics, construction-related items that appear in one version of the budget but not the other.

Building program
Assembly budget

  • Delete the $28.1 million University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing project.

Senate budget

  • Provide $10 million in bonding for a new engineering facility at Marquette University.
  • Direct state Building Commission to use $500,000 of the state’s building trust fund to study expanding dental education, including the possibility of new school in Marshfield.

Assembly budget

  • Let Wisconsin Department of Commerce require contractor registration and establish a Jan. 1, 2010, mandatory registration date.
  • Decrease brownfields grant program by $760,000 during biennium.

General provisions
Senate budget

  • Modify the definition of “public contract” under municipal law governing public works projects.
  • Define “service and maintenance work” to mean work performed directly by the municipality on minor pavement and ditch projects.
  • Specify that all municipal public contracts — except those let by the state, a school district or school board — would be required to be let on the basis of competitive bids and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder
  • Prohibit municipalities from subdividing projects into multiple public contract, allocating the work or workers or transferring jurisdiction of a project to avoid the competitive bid and lowest responsible bidder provisions.

Natural resources
Senate budget

  • Require owners of construction landfills to pay $12.85 per ton in tipping fees for waste material generated from construction, demolition or razing work. Current fees only apply to waste dumped at licensed landfills.
  • Delete provision letting the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District use design/build on a project to turn landfill gas to electricity.

Public instruction
Assembly budget

  • Require Milwaukee Public School Board ensure 30 percent of full-time employees working on district construction projects using federal stimulus money reside in Milwaukee’s Community Development Block Grant area.

Shared revenue and tax relief
Senate budget

  • A one-year extension of tax-incremental finance districts for affordable-housing projects.

Assembly budget

  • Delete the anti-pass-through provision in the oil-franchise fee and set a 2 percent flat rate for the sale of all vehicle fuel, letting companies decide whether to absorb the cost or pass it on to consumers.
  • Create Chippewa Valley and Fox Valley regional transit authorities.
  • Require Wisconsin Department of Transportation perform a feasibility study for a stop in Waterloo as part of a Milwaukee to Madison high-speed rail line.
  • A $400,000 WisDOT grant for construction of bike lines on County Highway B in Douglas County.
  • A $175,000 WisDOT grant for railroad improvements at Old Highway 18 crossing in Stockton.
  • A $500,000 WisDOT grant for Eisner Avenue rehab in Sheboygan.

Senate budget

  • Delete the oil-franchise fee entirely and move $260.1 million in the next two years from the general budget to the transportation budget.
  • Grant Milwaukee County authority to impose a 1 percent sales tax to help pay for transit, parks, culture and emergency services.
  • Require prevailing wage laws on any public works projects in a southeastern regional transit authority.
  • Require a binding referendum to create a Dane County regional transit authority.
  • Create a Chequamegon Bay regional transit authority.
  • Require competitive bidding on railroad projects using public money.
  • Require WisDOT to build a pedestrian and bike path along Highway 102 in Rib Lake if village contributes $60,000.
  • A $3.75 million WisDOT grant for construction of an Interstate 94 interchange in Oak Creek.
  • Require WisDOT to complete repaving of Highway KP between Cross Plains and Mazomanie.

Work force development
Assembly budget

  • Direct the Department of Workforce Development to properly define what constitutes willful misclassification of workers.
  • Authorize DWD to impose $50 to $500 penalties on employers that fail to list deductions from an employee’s pay.

Senate budget

  • Delete provision applying prevailing wage to plumbing, sprinkler, mechanical or pipe work employees working on public works projects.
  • Modify several prevailing wage definitions to more clearly define municipal, state or public involvement.
  • Delete prevailing wage requirements for construction work — including dock walls, walkways, plazas and parks — on the Milwaukee Riverwalk.

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