Republican Assembly leaders reject compromise mining bill

A compromise mining bill proposed by Senators Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) and Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) was flatly rejected by Republican Assembly leaders in Madison.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) and Joint Finance Co-Chair Robin Vos (R-Rochester) issued the following statement after Schultz and Jauch proposed a new version of the bill: “We need a bill that is going to bring mining back to the state of Wisconsin and create thousands of jobs for struggling workers statewide. On its face, the Schultz-Jauch proposal is based largely on a substitute amendment that was already rejected by the Assembly because it ensures that no company will ever do business here. Assembly Republicans are open to working with the Senate on a compromise that will ensure the future of mining in our state, but tax increases and legal red tape that will deny Wisconsin thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue are non-starters in this house.”
Schultz and Jauch unveiled a version of mining legislation that would create an 18-month timeline for the Department of Natural Resources to approve an iron mining permit, though the bill would allow three extensions.
"In the truest sense, this bill reflects the way we do good legislation in Wisconsin," Schultz said. "We may not always agree, but we come together for the good of the state in the Wisconsin way."
The legislation does not include a tonnage tax that was proposed in a draft bill by Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), as both legislators agreed it would be a non-starter in the Assembly.
The bill would require 100 percent of the revenue to go to the area impacted by a mine. Seventy percent would go to direct payments to offset costs to local taxpayers, 20 percent would go to a fund to help create a diversification and economic development program and provide for catastrophic abatement, and 10 percent would offset transportation infrastructure costs.
The bill also would require $5 million upfront from mining companies in guaranteed payments in lieu of property taxes to local communities during the first five years of operation.
For ongoing coverage of the mining bill, visit WisPolitics.com, a media partner of BizTimes.

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