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Friday, June 28, 2019

The Wisconsin Budget

This past week both the Assembly and Senate passed the state budget bill. Having garnered consent from both chambers the budget bill will now advance to the Governor for his consideration. Upon receipt of the bill the Governor will have three possible courses of action. He can sign the bill in its entirety, veto the bill in its entirety, or exercise his partial veto authority to remove portions of the bill. The Governor stated, “I’m ready for the legislature to send me the budget.” Once he receives the bill he will have 6 days to consider what actions he will take.

 

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The budget sent to the Governor includes nearly $83.6 billion dollars of spending after accounting for bonding. This is a significant increase in spending when compared to the last state budget which spent just under $76.5 billion dollars. The budget as written spends nearly $2.6 billion less than the Governor originally recommended. Three high priority areas addressed in the budget are education, healthcare, and transportation funding. All three of these areas received substantial investments. The budget directs funds to address the aforementioned priorities while at the same time spending within our means.

Under the budget sent to the Governor K-12 education funding will receive an additional $500 million increase. This is new revenue on top of what schools received in the last budget. In total $12.3 billion dollars will be directed toward K-12 schools over the biennium. 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.  

Higher education will also see significant changes. Atop the list is a continuation of the resident undergraduate tuition freeze. For resident undergraduates tuition has not increased from the 2012-13 levels and under this budget it will continue to remain frozen. In practical terms this means the average student at UW Stevens Point will save over $7,000 on their four-year degree. These savings are substantial and help students graduate with less debt. Additionally, the budget includes $18 million for our state’s technical schools to assist schools like Northcentral Technical College in the administration of high-demand programs like nursing and construction.

I worked to address nursing home reimbursement rates, which will increase 7% under the budget. This is of particular importance because of recent nursing home closures across the state. When nursing homes close it creates an access issue which hits rural areas particularly hard. Additionally, nursing homes have difficulty retaining staff under the current reimbursement rates. This reimbursement rate increase is desperately needed to keep our nursing homes open and to attract caregivers to vacant positions. Under the budget the state will continue to fund the Healthcare Stability Plan which is designed to decrease private health insurance premiums. The budget also increases payments to hospitals that serve a relatively high number of medical assistance recipients and low-income patients. It’s anticipated some of these funds will be directed toward hospitals in the district.

This budget invests in our roads. The state highway rehabilitation program will see an increase of 19%. These funds will keep construction and maintenance projects on schedule around the state. The matching rate for the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) will change from 50% to 10% allowing municipalities to reconstruct roads. Local road aids will increase by 10%. All of this additional aid will come without having to raise the gas tax, which in hearing from constituents was incredibly unpopular. The budget also authorizes the lowest level of bonding since the 2001-03 budget cycle.

Finally, the budget includes over $500 million in tax cuts. Which will provide tax relief for low- and middle-income families. The budget allocates resources to areas that need further investment and provides tax relief to Wisconsinites.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding specific appropriations.

 

View my press release from earlier in the week! 
 

 

New Highway Project

I wanted to provide an update regarding a new road construction project that will be occurring in the district. Highway 153 between Andreys Lane and north County J will undergo road construction beginning on July 8th with an expected completion by August 1st. The scope of the project will include removing the top layer of pavement and replacing it with a new surface. Highway 153 will remain open to traffic during the construction period.

Mosinee July 4th Independence Day Celebrations

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Mosinee Area Chamber will be celebrating Independence Day beginning with a 5K Run/Walk at 9am followed by a gathering at River Park between 4pm-11pm. Of particular note, the parade will begin at 6pm. The evening will feature music, fireworks at dusk, and an opportunity to celebrate with our friends and neighbors as a community. Here is a link for more information!   

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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