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Tiffany, Wisconsin GOP skeptical of billions of dollars of budget requests from state agenciesSubmitted: 11/22/2014
Story By Ben Meyer

Tiffany, Wisconsin GOP skeptical of billions of dollars of budget requests from state agencies
MINOCQUA - A quick glance at Wisconsin's governmental finances could convince you the state has a hole to fill.

Projections show the state will take in $2.2 billion fewer than its agencies want to spend from mid-2015 to mid-2017.

The state legislature and Gov. Scott Walker will need to figure out how to make the numbers work.

Northwoods Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) points out the money the agencies want is more than the agencies will get.

"Yes, it's very much a wish list," he said Saturday. "As we get toward Thanksgiving, a lot of us are filling out our Christmas wish lists. It's kind of like that for the agencies."

For example, the Department of Transportation wants to raise taxes and fees by about 750-million dollars to fund its projects.

That would include new fees on new car sales and an increase to the gas tax.

Tiffany is skeptical of that plan.

"Before I will vote for any tax for fee increases, you have to show us some efficiencies within your budget," Tiffany said. "I think the DOT budget is $4 or 5 billion, something like that. You need to show us that you're spending those dollars effectively and efficiently. I expect those things to happen first. The last thing we should do is raise taxes or fees."

Tiffany suggested cutting back on projects that only improve the appearance of roadways.

Democrats in the legislature may have a tough time impacting budget choices.

They're in the minority in both houses.

On Saturday, we reached out to every legislative Democrat in our area who will be involved in the budget process.

We weren't able to reach any of them.

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