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Contents

  • Budget Update
  • Bay Port High School Soccer

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Joint Finance Committee
Finishes Work on Budget 

Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Finance held its final executive session on the state budget. Since we began on May 9th, we have held 10 individual sessions. Prior to these sessions, we held four listening sessions throughout the state. We took the input we received there and used it to help craft a Wisconsin budget for all. Here is a video of my closing statement from yesterday’s Joint Committee on Finance.

 

This budget is great for our community. It includes crucial investments in Marinette Marine and continues our historic investments in K-12 education. Here is a list of the increased funding each school in the district is expected to receive as a result of this budget:

 

Pulaski School District: $2.8 million

Howard Suamico School District: $4.1 million

Marinette School District: Additional $1.7 million

Oconto Falls School District: $1.3 million

Peshtigo School District: $800,000

Coleman School District: $500,000

Oconto School District: $870,000

Lena School District: $313,000

 Here are some highlights from the Wisconsin budget as a whole:

 Department of Public Instruction

We increased school funding by $500M and provides the same per pupil increase as the Governor proposed.

  • Increase special education funding by $96M.
    • This will achieve a 30% reimbursement rate by the second year.
      • Before Gov. Evers ran for higher office, this is the same level he proposed reaching.
  • Increased mental health funding by $12.5M.
    • This doubles current program funding.
  • Low revenue ceiling to $9,700/pupil in the first year and $10,000/pupil in the second year.
  • Double funding for robotics league participation grants.
  • Create a minimum aid categorical aid program to get all school districts to at least $1,000/pupil between general aids and per pupil categorical aid.
  • Fully fund the school milk program.
  • Increase funding by $2M to connect future teachers with rural school districts.
  • Provide $700,000 annually for Wisconsin Reading Corps.

 Healthcare

These initiatives make strategic investments in the healthcare workforce and hospitals to improve access and affordability of healthcare.

  • Increase funding for nursing homes by $30 million GPR ($74M all-funds).
    • This is approximately a 7.0% increase in nursing home reimbursement rates.
  • Increasing funding for Personal Care Workers by $37 million GPR ($91M all-funds).
    • Change from current rate of $16.73 to new hourly rate of $18.24 starting July 1, 2019.
    • Personal care increase is about 9% in the first year.
  • Increase funding for Direct Caregivers in Family Care by $27 million GPR ($66.5M all-funds).
    • Over the biennium we are more doubling the base funding ($12.5 million GPR annually) for the direct care workforce funding initiative.
  • Increase Disproportionate Share Hospital payments by $60M GPR ($147.8 million all-funds).
    • This program directs assistance to hospitals that serve a higher share of Medicaid patients.
  • Continued funding for the Healthcare Stability Plan.
    • This program, created by Republicans in 2018, lowered premiums by 10% compared to the state having no Healthcare Stability Plan.

 Transportation

  • Lowest level of borrowing since 2001.
  • Increased funding for the state highway rehabilitation program by 19%.
    • This funding will maintain road conditions and keep projects around the state on time.
  • Provided a 10% increase for local road aids.
  • Provided $90 million for the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) and lowered the local match from 50% to 10%.
    • This program provides assistance for municipalities to reconstruct roads.
    • The increase in the budget is a tripling from current program funding.

 Department of Children and Families

These initiatives protect vulnerable children and improve access to quality child care.

  • Increase in Children and Family Aids by $5M in the first year and $25.5M in the second year.
    • This provides additional resources to provide assistance to vulnerable children.
  • Increase funding for Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidies by $77M all-funds.
    • This program helps low-income families afford child care.

 Taxes

  • Cut income taxes by nearly $500 million, targeted to middle-class wages.
    • Since 2013, a family with median income will have saved over $1,600.
  • Property taxes will be lower than under the Governor’s budget.
  • Increases the medical expenses deduction to reduce healthcare costs for self-employed individuals.

 Workforce Development

These initiatives make targeted investments in workforce training programs to connect more skilled workers with employers.

  • Provide $500,000 for Project SEARCH to connect individuals with disabilities with jobs.
    • This program connects individuals with disabilities to jobs.
  • $1M for Dept. of Corrections workforce training programs.
    • This funding puts a worker training classroom in each minimum and medium-security prison in the state.
  • Increase Career and Technical Education grant funding by $6M.
    • This doubles current program funding.
    • This program provides incentive grants of $1,000/student for each student that earns a technical education credential.
  • Provide an additional $1M for Technical Education Equipment Grants.
    • This program helps schools to purchase new equipment.
  • Expand the summer youth employment program statewide.
    • This program connects students with summer employment and workforce training programs.

Wisconsin Technical College System

  • Increase general aids by $25M.

University of Wisconsin

  • Increased funding by over $100M, between general aid and the pay plan.
    • In the last budget, funding was increased by $100M.
  • Continued the tuition freeze for another two years.
    • Over four years, the average student will have saved over $6,000.
  • Created a dental student scholarship program to attract dentists to rural communities.

 Criminal Justice Reform Package

These initiatives will provide a speedy trial to defendants and quicker justice for victims of crime.

  • 2% annual increase on January 1, 2020 and 2021 for DA pay progression.
  • 26.5 new GPR prosecutors statewide.
    • This is the largest staffing increase since DA’s became state employees in 1989, and three times the total number of GPR-funded positions we have added over the last 14 years.
  • Increased private bar rate for private attorneys taking SPD cases from $40 to $70.
  • Increased hourly rate paid to private attorneys taking county appointed rate to $100 per hour.

Agriculture

  • Provided funding and regulatory positions for the Industrial Hemp program to support this emerging agricultural market.
  • Set aside funding for the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention to make recommendations on programs to reduce the suicide rate among farmers.
  • Created the Dairy Hub at UW-Madison, Platteville, and River Falls to support and invest in Wisconsin’s $43 billion dairy industry.

Natural Resources

These initiatives increase funding for programs to protect our natural resources and water resources.

  • Increased bonding authority for several environmental items, including: contaminated sediment cleanup, dam safety, targeted runoff management,and cost-sharing grants.
  • Increased funding for water quality and environmental conservation efforts by nearly $16 million all funds, 6.0 positions, and $25.5 million in bonding.
    • Despite the rhetoric from the other side of the aisle, we actually adopted a significant portion of what Governor Evers proposed in this section of the budget.
  • Supported the Governor’s recommendation to reauthorize the Stewardship Program for two years at current funding levels to help preserve and improve Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Building Program

  • Reduced borrowing and spending from the Governor’s Capital Budget by nearly $600 million.
  • Prioritized maintenance and up-keep of state facilities to save taxpayer resources long-term.
  • Funded nearly all of UW’s Capital Budget requests so that students have state of the art educational facilities. UW facility funding totals nearly $1.2 billion
  • Approved 5 construction representative positions that will improve efficiency in the building program and shorten time to completion.

Corrections

  • Expanded both Windows to Work and OARS programs to help offenders successfully reintegrate into society.
  • Increase correctional officer starting pay to $19/hour.
  • Provided funding for lump-sum awards for length of service.  Employees with ten years of service would receive $250, 15 years $500, 20 years $750, and 25 years $1,000 with an additional $1,000 every five years after that.

Juvenile Corrections

  • Provided GPR funding for the costs associated with the expansion of the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center.
  • Increased bonding authorization for county-run secure residential treatment centers for children and youth by $40 million.

Justice

  • Added 6.4 GPR lab personnel, and 2.6 PR PR DNA analysts at the state crime labs
  • Provided a one-time GPR increase for treatment and diversion (TAD) programs
  • Provided continued funding of the Division of Criminal Investigation

State Employee Compensation

  • Provided funding for a 2%/2% general wage adjustment for all state employees including the UW System.

Veterans

  • Extended the Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP) to provide assistance and support for at-risk Veterans who struggle with substance abuse.
  • Increased funding for Veterans care and programs by over $30 million.

Broadband

  • Provided $44 million for broadband infrastructure grants.

Homelessness

  • Set aside $6.5 million in its supplemental appropriation for the Homelessness initiatives approved by the Interagency Council on Homelessness.  

Governor Evers is threatening to veto this budget in its entirety. I feel like this is a mistake and would negatively impact millions of Wisconsinites.

If this budget is vetoed, over $12 million will be cut from local school districts and important investments in Marinette Marine will also be stripped away. I encourage you to contact Governor Ever’s office at 608-266-1212 to let him know that you support the Wisconsin budget and that vetoing it would be detrimental to the people of Wisconsin!

 
Bay Port High School Girls Soccer

I want to congratulate the Bay Port High School Girls Soccer team for qualifying for the WIAA’s State Girls Soccer Tournament! Good luck!

The WIAA State Girls Soccer Tournament will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 13, 14 and 15 at the Kohler Engines Stadium at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.  For more information on this and the WIAA https://www.wiaawi.org

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