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Assembly approves constitutional amendment to block tax hikes

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  It would be harder to raise Wisconsin's two major taxes, under a constitutional amendment approved by the state Assembly yesterday. All 60 Republicans voted yes, and all 39 Democrats voted no to requiring a two-thirds' majority in both houses before the state sales-and-income taxes could be raised.

The so-called "super-majority" is already a state law for tax increases, but the Republicans who passed it want to make sure the requirement is not repealed by a future Legislature. The amendment now goes to the Senate. It would also have to be approved in the next session, and then by the voters in a statewide referendum.

Also, the Assembly gave its first approval to another constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state treasurer's position. That vote was 67-to-32. It now goes to the Senate. There's been talk for years about eliminating both the treasurer's and the secretary-of-state's positions. Republicans plan to introduce a separate amendment next year to dump the secretary's post. The G-O-P dramatically reduced the duties of both positions a couple years ago, and gave most of their work to other agencies.