State makes steps towards selling property - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

State makes steps towards selling property


Eau Claire (WQOW) - A sales pitch in Madison could cover property from one end of the state to the other and some lawmakers aren't buying in.

From prisons to power plants, state property could one day be sold.

Republicans and democrats disagree on the idea, especially when it comes to how the state values and finalizes sales.

"Never did I dream that I would see a day where all state property is literally up for sale and not on a bid process," says state Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire).

That day could come soon, on Tuesday, the joint finance committee gave its support to a measure allowing private buyers to purchase almost any state property.

"There's not a chance this committee would sell the Capitol, I mean lets get real," says Joint Finance Committee co-chair Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

The capitol is an extreme example, but highways, UW-campus dorms, prisons and power plants could sell for the right price.

"We're gonna be able to see the terms and conditions.  So, we're gonna see what they're offering to pay, what the terms are," says Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).

Democrats want to see the measure pulled from the budget and introduced as a stand-alone bill.

"Make it in a separate bill so that people can come and testimony can be heard about whether the citizens want their government property doled out," says Wachs.

Because at this point they're worried there are more questions than answers.

"But Highway 53 is pretty important to this state.  That could potentially be up for sale and Highway 29 as well.   So are we going to be paying tolls?" says Wachs.

Governor Walker says highways won't be sold and the joint finance committee says the state will still have the final say on all sales.

"We would make the decision whether to sell or lease, or not to sell or lease," says Darling.

What they won't be able to sell or lease, are properties with at least 50-percent federal, gift or grant funding.

The next step for this part of the budget is the senate and assembly before hitting the governor's desk. 

Federally owned properties like interstates 90 and 94 cannot be sold if this measure passes.

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