Daily Bread for 5.23.23: A Wisconsin Shared Revenue Deal Hasn’t Been Imminent for Months (Obviously)

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:24 AM and sunset 8:19 PM for 14h 55m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 14.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in  1854, the Milwaukee and Mississippi railroad reached Madison, connecting the city with Milwaukee. When the cars pulled into the depot, thousands of people gathered to witness the ceremonial arrival of the first train, and an enormous picnic was held on the Capitol grounds for all the passengers who’d made the seven-hour trip from Milwaukee to inaugurate the line.

Shawn Johnson reports (in a good story worth reading in full) that Here’s where things stand on an effort to boost local government funding in Wisconsin:

For most of this year, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republicans who run the Legislature have seemed on the cusp of a deal that would overhaul how the state funds local government expenses like police, emergency medical services and roads.

They can still get there, and maybe soon. But they’ve hit obstacles recently that could endanger the agreement.

Earlier this month, Evers threatened to veto the first version of the plan proposed by Assembly Republicans because he said it included too many strings, and not enough funding.

Then last week, GOP Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said Republicans in his chamber would likely remove a requirement that Milwaukee voters pass a referendum to raise local sales taxes. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, responded by warning that LeMahieu’s suggestion could kill the bill.

The dispute threatens an otherwise broad agreement that the state needs to help local governments — from Milwaukee to Wisconsin’s small towns — who’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to paying for basic services constituents expect.


The Assembly and Senate must pass the identical bill in order to send it to Gov. Evers’ desk. If the Senate makes one small change, the Assembly has to vote again on whether to “concur,” or agree with that amendment. In the case of removing the referendum requirement, Vos said that won’t happen.

The Senate could back down, or the two sides could send the bill to a conference committee to negotiate a compromise. Or they could end up not agreeing on one of the biggest issues facing state government this year, one that everyone at the Capitol seems to be talking about.

There may be a deal today, perhaps tomorrow. Know this, however: supposedly connected operatives, lobbyists, and public relations men have been telling people for months that a deal was imminent.

Months is not the definition of imminent. The definition of imminent is likely to happen very soon. Months is a longer time than very soon. Self-described political movers-and-shakers (and everyone who thinks of himself this way should seek a remedial education, counseling, or spiritual guidance) are, in fact, no more than big talkin’ posers.

Shawn Johnson’s story at WPR nicely shows how slowly the negotiations have gone. A deal hasn’t been imminent for months or it would have already happened. 

Meteor lights up night sky near Cairns, Australia:

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