GOP releases plan that would increase shared revenue 

Wisconsin’s local governments would see at least a 10% increase in funding under a wide-ranging Republican plan released Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. It would also bar local health officers from mandating business closures that last more than 14 days and require voter approval in Milwaukee city and county to raise the sales tax. 

The package, crafted by Republicans with input from local governments, comes in response to years of lobbying from local leaders who say stagnant funding from the state has not kept up with costs in their communities to pay for pension liabilities, emergency services, road repairs, and other needs. 

It would increase funding known as shared revenue to cities, counties, towns, and villages by $227 million. It could only be spent on police and fire protection, emergency medical services, emergency response communications, public works, and transportation. 

The bill would also require high schools to collect and maintain reports about incidents of sexual assault, robbery, and battery. Local advisory referenda questions, like recent ones asking about support for legalizing recreational marijuana, would no longer be allowed. 

The proposal also would create a three-year, $300 million pilot program to provide additional funding to communities that combine services and save money. 

The bill was circulated for cosponsors on Tuesday, with a very unusual deadline of just over three hours for lawmakers to sign on — a sign that Republicans want to move quickly to pass it. Once approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature, it would then go to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.