Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Harsdorf/Brown Plan: Setting the Stage for a GOP Battle

Now that State Senators Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Ron Brown (R-Eau Claire) have proposed a statutory cap on local property taxes and state government spending, the constitutional amendment to restrict public revenue in Wisconsin is all but dead.

Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to watch the moderate and extreme segments of the GOP duke it out on this one. So far there is near silence on the right side of the blogosphere about the Harsdorf/Brown proposal and the impending doom of the revenue amendment. I imagine we’ll at least get something from Owen once he gets back at the helm over at “Boots and Sabers.”

Although the details aren’t out on the Harsdorf/Brown proposal, based on the press release it is noticeably less stringent than the revenue amendment. It’s clearly a moderate Republican version of limiting government, while the revenue amendment represents the extreme version.

Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) released a very cautious press release today that praised both the revenue amendment and the Harsdorf/Brown plan, despite the fact that the two are very different. Clearly Schultz wanted to acknowledge both plans without ruffling any feathers or letting the public think there is heated contention within the ranks.

But ruffled feathers can’t be avoided for long. If the far fiscal right segment of the GOP rejects the Harsdorf/Brown proposal and sticks to its guns on a comprehensive constitutional amendment, which I think is likely, this could turn out to be the major battle for the heart of the Republican Party in the state.

I think the moderates would take it if it simply came down to numbers, but the far fiscal right has some vocal and ferocious fighters like Charlie Sykes on its side, along with cash spouting from places like Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Americans for Prosperity.

What the moderates need to ensure victory over the extremists is a unifying figure to take charge on their side. I wonder who could possibly fill such a role?

UPDATE: Rep. Jeff Wood (R-Chippewa Falls), co-author of the revenue amendment, has released a press statement expressing his extreme disappointment in the Harsdorf/Brown proposal. In it he calls a statutory cap "absolutely meaningless" because it can be modified or suspended with subsequent legislation.

Let the games begin...

1 Comments:

Blogger Mr. mXp said...

who wants to save themselves from themselves more? the games will certainly be interesting to watch.

April 19, 2006  

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