The End of a Wild Ride: Legislative Session Wraps Up
The Wisconsin Legislature concluded its session last week, a session that began in January 2011. This means that the Legislature will probably not meet again until January 2013, unless the Governor calls a special session of the Legislature. (Both houses of the state Legislature will hold a limited floor period for about 10 days starting in late April, to tie up any loose ends.)
This legislative session included passage of the state’s controversial budget repair bill, which severely restricted collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. During this session, the Legislature also passed the state’s biennial budget, which raised tuition for college students while handing out large tax breaks for multi-state corporations.
More recently, the Legislature had been considering a number of bills and constitutional amendments, some of which we’ve been keeping tabs on here on the Wisconsin Budget Project blog. To become a law, a bill must pass both houses of the Legislature in the same session and then be signed by the Governor. Proposed constitutional amendments must be passed by both houses of two consecutive Legislatures and approved at a statewide referendum.
- Tax credits for “angel investors” who sink money into start-up businesses in Wisconsin. An amended version of Senate Bill 463 was passed both houses of the Legislature, and will be sent to the governor for his signature. (A March 15 Legislative Council memo describes the bill and amendments.)
- A requirement that biennial budget bills must include a list of all the earmarks in the bill. Senate Bill 114 was passed by both houses of the Legislature and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
- A provision that would allow corporations to transfer tax credits to other corporations. Currently, some corporations pay so little in state income tax that they are not able to make full use of tax credits. Assembly Bill 376 won approval in the Assembly, but neither that bill nor companion bill Senate Bill 291 was passed by the Senate.
- A provision that would allow students with disabilities to use publicly-funded vouchers to attend private schools. Assembly Bill 110 as approved by the Assembly but did not make it through the Senate. A similar bill (Senate Bill 486) did not advance in the Senate.
- A provision to close corporate tax loopholes and use the resulting revenue to support access to health care for working families. This legislation (Assembly Bill 697 and Senate Bill 538) was not passed by either house of the Legislature.
We’ve also recently written about three proposed constitutional amendments that would affect the state’s coffers. Here’s how those fared:
- A constitutional amendment that would require a super-majority required for tax increases. This resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 8, AJR 9) was not passed by either house of the Legislature.
- Constitutional restrictions on state and local revenue and spending. This resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 48) did not make it through the Senate.
- A constitutional amendment that would prohibit future Legislatures from approving bills that increase the state’s deficit, as calculated using specific accounting rules. This resolution (Assembly Joint Resolution 100) was passed by the Assembly but not the Senate.