Governor Scott Walker made an extraordinary threat yesterday.
On social media, and in an interview with Mark Belling, Walker promised to veto the entire state budget if the Republican Legislature did not produce a property tax reduction.
The impetus for this pronouncement? Some Republicans don’t support Walker’s plan to eliminate the state forestry property tax.
It is unusual, to say the least, for a governor to draw such a line. One example I can cite dates to the early 1970s. On that occasion, the Legislature resisted Governor Patrick Lucey’s proposal to merge the University of Wisconsin with the old state university system. The Legislature blinked when Lucey said it might need to start from scratch on the budget if it did not OK the merger.
Walker might prevail in this particular battle. Just as with the transportation finance issue, he holds the cards.
The wonky pros and cons of the forestry tax proposal are irrelevant. What matters is that a Republican Governor has said to a Republican Legislature: Go Ahead. Make My Day.