Vote No on Transportation Amendment that Would Reduce Flexibility - and another perspective Craig Thompson: Vote YES on transportation amendment

Make it Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

The November 4th ballot will include a referendum question which would amend the state’s constitution to ensure that revenues generated by use of the state transportation system remain in a segregated Transportation Fund and cannot be transferred from this fund. Since funding for transit and paratransit has been a priority for our coalitions, many people have asked if this Amendment would be beneficial.

Please note that while the amendment’s is supposed to protect the Transportation Fund, it does not include a requirement that transit and paratransit funding remain in the Transportation Fund. In recent state budgets, there have been efforts to remove transit and paratransit from the Transportation Fund. Recent comments from legislative leaders describing Transit as a “social program” rather than as transportation have led many to expect that we will see continued efforts to remove Transit from the Transportation fund. So there is no certainty that such an amendment would “protect” funding for transit and paratransit. It will protect funding for highways.

We wanted to share some perspectives with you. Please see below

  • The opinion piece in the email below is from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and makes the case to vote NO on the transportation amendment.

  • For another perspective, here is a link to an opinion piece from the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin which makes the case to vote Yes on the transportation amendment:

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director DISABILITY RIGHTS WISCONSIN
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 3230 Milwaukee, WI 53214
414–773–4646 Ext 15 Voice
414–773–4647 Fax

On Behalf Of Jon Peacock, Wisconsin Budget Project

Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 3:07 PM
To: Barbara Beckert
Subject: Vote No on Transportation Amendment that Would Reduce Flexibility

Vote No on Transportation Amendment that Would Reduce Flexibility

Next week, Wisconsin voters will decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment that would create a double standard and tie lawmakers’ hands during a crisis.

The proposed amendment would prohibit lawmakers from transferring money out of the state transportation fund to use for other public services. But it would do nothing to prohibit transfers in the other direction, transfers that drain resources from schools and communities and instead largely underwrite highways.

Some who favor a constitutional amendment point to past transfers that reduced resources for transportation programs. But in recent years, increasingly large transfers from the general fund to the transportation fund have more than made up for earlier losses. In fact, over the last twelve years, $314 million more has been transferred into the transportation fund than has been transferred away from it.

The amendment would also reduce budget flexibility. Circumstances change in unexpected ways, especially during times of economic crisis, and the state often finds that it needs to move money from one pot to another to avert steep cuts to public services. That ability would be limited by this amendment.

Read today’s blog post for more about why a “no” vote on the constitutional amendment will promote efficient use of public resources.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on October 29, 2014

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