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Friday, June 14, 2019

The Wisconsin Budget 

The Joint Committee is concluding its work on the budget and will be advancing it for consideration by the Assembly and Senate. I want to highlight some positive aspects of the bill.

 

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Substantial investments were made to fund education, justice, healthcare, and transportation priorities while at the same time spending within our means.

The budget includes a $500 million increase in K-12 education funding. This is new revenue on top of what schools received in the last budget. Based on estimates from the legislative fiscal bureau this could result in an increase in $1,431,929 for Mosinee, $2,967,350 for Marshfield, $4,042,909 for DC Everest, $5,924,691 for Wausau, $398,749 for Marathon, and $524,089 for Auburndale over the biennium.

The UW System received increased funding totaling $93 million over the biennium. The UW System remains in strong financial health. In addition to increases in general funding it receives from the state the Joint Finance Committee approved a number of building projects. That includes nearly $1.2 billion going toward new buildings for the UW System.

The Wood County District Attorney’s Office will be able to hire a new assistant district attorney with new funds allocated as general purpose revenue and the Marathon County District Attorney’s Office will keep 2.5 assistant district attorney positions that were at jeopardy of loss because of expiring funding. Additionally, private attorneys accepting public defender cases will see a significant increase in their hourly rate from $40 per hour to $70 per hour.

The budget invests over $150 million in increases for caregiver wages, the state will continue to fund the Healthcare Stability Plan which is designed to decrease private health insurance premiums, and thanks to a budget motion I introduced, the Joint Committee on Finance also voted to increase nursing home reimbursement rates by $47.6 million, which brings the total rate increase to 7%.

In conversations I’ve had with individuals in the district and through responses to my budget survey fixing our roads is a priority. At the same time the proposal of increasing the gas tax is highly unpopular. The Joint Finance Committee increased transportation funding by $487 million over the biennium while authorizing the lowest level of bonding since the 2001-03 budget cycle. Included in this budget are substantial funds to assist the counties, towns, cities, and villages with the maintenance and construction of local roads.

Finally, the budget includes over $500 million in tax cuts.

As always, if you have questions regarding specific areas in the budget feel free to contact me and I can provide an update on the specific area.

 

School Funding Map

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Here is an interactive map that shows the impact of the budget on individual school districts. It shows the school districts previous budget and the proposed increases for the biennium. 

Algae Blooms

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Around this time of year blue-green algae blooms become more common. These algae blooms can release toxins that are harmful to human health. The DNR warns that illness can occur from swallowing, inhaling, or prolonged contact with the toxic algae. Follow this link to learn more.  

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 CONTACT INFO:

Phone: (608) 266-1182

Toll-Free:

(888) 534-0086  

Email:

Rep.Spiros@legis.wi.gov

State Capitol 212N

PO Box 8953

Madison, WI 53708