Posts tagged ‘Real ID’

May 21, 2008

“The Sensenbrenner Tax”

by thoughtfulconservative

This is the clever title (well, maybe not so clever since Cato wrote it first) of the latest post by Wisconsin 5th CD candidate, Republican Jim Burkee posted at the Small Business Times and on his Community NOW blog Responsibility Now (which has footnotes where the SBT post doesn’t. BTW, if anyone can figure out how the footnotes work, I would appreciate it. I can’t.).

His basis is that Sensenbrenner was the sponsor of the Real ID Act of 2005 which was responsible for an unfunded mandate that caused the Wisconsin Legislature to raise driver license fees $10 — the Sensenbrenner Tax.

This fee/tax was also involved in the recent budget repair “deal” and a tongue lashing by Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin Assembly Majority leader Mike Huebsch.

Burkee is correct when he says,

With Real ID, Jim Sensenbrenner has managed to unite left and right in opposition.

Of course, Sensenbrenner was just the sponsor. All but 12 Republicans in the House voted for the measure in February 2005 before it was attached as a rider to the military appropriations bill, eight voted “No” and 5 didn’t vote. All three of Wisconsin Republicans voted for the measure, so I’m not sure if Burkee is condemning the entire Republican Party and aligning himself with Ron Paul, who was one of the eight nay votes.

Instead of Real ID, Burkee touts Rep. Paul Ryan’s Employee Verification Act, which seems to have promise, but has not been passed and I doubt it will in the current climate.

I’m not a big fan of Real ID myself, but it seems we need to get something on track. And as Owen has pointed out, the Wisconsin Legislature has already passed the $10 fee and are not rescinding it.

This looks like a spending cut, but it really isn’t.  It cuts $21,989,300 for implementing the Real ID Act and transfers the money to the general fund.  But implementing the Real ID act is de-facto mandatory unless Wisconsinites are cool with their drivers’ licenses being invalid for federal purposes.  So while this looks like a spending cut, it is actually just delaying this spending into the next budget.

Also notice that this was the excuse for the increased vehicle registration fee that was passed in the budget.  So now there is a fee that is being collected to implement the Real ID act, but the money is being taken used in the general fund instead.  Bait and switch, anyone?

Does this mean it’s no longer Sensenbrenner’s tax?

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