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Doyle makes vetoes on budget repair bill

This (Friday) morning Gov. Jim Doyle used his line item veto to make numerous changes to the budget repair bill passed earlier this week by the Legislature.

As he promised Doyle vetoed a delay in payment of $125 million in school aid.

"Delaying a school aid payment weakens Wisconsin's financial balance sheet, and more importantly, creates the risk of a significant cut to education in the next biennial budget. I have always been clear that education is my top priority because it is Wisconsin's top priority," Doyle said.

He also authorized a total of $270 million in new lapses to the general fund, allowing the $209 million tobacco funds re-securitization, but permitting it to take place anytime within the biennium and restoring the $65 million statutory balance.

However, Doyle added, "Other spending in the bill and increases provided in 2007 Wisconsin Act 20 (original 2007-09 biennial budget) will be scaled back in order to protect priorities and meet the $270 million lapse goal."

The $270 million is in addition to the $200 million in lapses ordered in the bill.

Doyle left increases for the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program ($18.6 million) and $24.8 million segregated funds to address higher county highway maintenance costs brought by what he termed as on by one of the worst winters in Wisconsin history.

He also vetoed a property tax exemption for low-income housing because they are a major non-fiscal policy and should not be included in this bill.

"Unfortunately, this budget repair bill includes a major policy item related to property tax exemptions for low-income housing. While this legislation has a laudable goal, it demands a full public hearing and legislative debate," Doyle said.

Other vetoes made by the governor include:

General School Aids Payment Delay: Vetoes delete delay of $125 million in school aids and mechanism to reverse the total $200 million delayed payment.

Tobacco Bond Refinancing: One veto addresses a cross reference relating to the definition of appropriation obligation. The Department of Administration will also be authorized to refund the tobacco appropriation bonds in the future based on call provisions included in the bond structure.

A Second veto allows the transfer of money from the permanent endowment fund to the medical assistance trust fund at any time during the 2007-09 biennium.

The DOA secretary is requested to structure the refinancing "in a way that is most cost-effective for the state, including a lower up-front payment."

Lapses to the General Fund: One veto removes the $50 million restriction on the amount of funds that can be transferred from the Department of Transportation and the requirement the transfer must come from an appropriation for state highway rehabilitation.

Partial veto increases the lapse and transfer amount to $270 million during the 2007-09 biennium.

Real ID Implementation Funds: Veto restores Joint Finance Committee authority over Real ID implementation funds and transfers $2 million of the funds to the general fund, leaving about $20 million for the committee to supplement DOT for the program.

Required General Fund Balance: Veto restores the $65 million statutory balance requirement (from $25 million in the bill).

Authorization for Child Care Payments: Veto leaves funding for child care payments, but removes methodology for reimbursing child care providers under the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is directed to suspend the current attendance-based rule for the remainder of fiscal year 2007-08.

Payments to Related Entities - Australian Unit Trusts: Veto removes exemption from payment provisions for Australian unit trusts.