State Rep. Dale Kooyenga says Wisconsin’s transportation fund is a “complex problem” that requires a “complex solution.”

Kooyenga and Assembly Republicans last week issued a complex plan to lower the gas excise tax, add the sales tax to gasoline sales and pare back minimum markup in an effort to boost the transportation fund. The Brookfield Republican combined that with a plan that would move the state toward a flat tax.

“This is a conversation starter. This isn’t a Kooyenga plan. This is an Assembly GOP plan. And there’s dozens of members who have ideas in this plan,” Kooyenga said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with

Kooyenga said he expects the proposal would lower gas prices in Wisconsin, while also raising revenue for the transportation fund. Some of the additional revenue in the upcoming biennium would be used to lower borrowing in the 2017-19 budget.

“Do we want to spend money on interest, or do we want to spend money on labor and materials to fix our roads?” Kooyenga said. “I think we want to spend money on labor and materials to fix our roads.”

Kooyenga said other members of his caucus didn’t like every facet of the plan, but he expected there would be discussion to come up with a plan Republican lawmakers could support.

“Generally speaking, does this move us in the right direction for Wisconsin’s economy, which is contingent upon good transportation and a healthy tax code? And the answer is yes,” Kooyenga said.

Also on the program, Craig Thompson, executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, praised Kooyenga for proposing a plan.

“I think this is the first real effort we’ve seen at addressing revenues long term or longer term. It’s a work in progress, I think. It’s a good starting point. There’s some things in there we don’t love, there’s some things that we like. But we do like the fact that it acknowledges that we have to do something. And I think it’s the first real proposal that’s been put out,” Thompson said.

Amy Goldstein, a Washington Post reporter who has written a new book on the aftermath of the General Motors plant closing in Janesville, also appeared on the program to discuss “Janesville: An American Story.”

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