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 June 30, 2021



Great news!  The State Assembly has passed a new state budget bill that is reasonable, responsible and realistic.  Four Democrats joined all Republicans in advancing the bill to the State Senate; by the time you read this, the bill may already be en route to Governor Evers' desk for his signature.


So what?  What does this mean for you?


Governor Evers' proposal would have increased taxes by more than $1 billion.  But this bill reduces taxes by $3.4 billion, which is surely a once-in-a-generation opportunity.  For a typical family, that means a $900 income tax cut.  (In fact, the bill updates the amount of tax that your employer has to withhold from your paychecks.  If you notice a raise in your take-home pay in the near future, now you know why!)  It also means $300 in property tax cuts that will start showing up on this December's bill.  If you're a business owner, then (finally!) the dreaded Personal Property Tax and all that paperwork is fully repealed.


Two-thirds of K-12 education funding will again be supplied by the state, a standard set by Republicans years ago but which Democrat Governor Jim Doyle did away with.  On average, school districts across the state are receiving $2,898 per pupil in new federal funding alone (which is almost $58,000 per classroom of 20 kids). That figure doesn't count the new special education funding, student mental health funding, learning loss aid, transportation aid and more that the state will provide, too.




Funding for state highway maintenance is $60 million higher than what Governor Evers proposed.  For the third budget in a row, there are significant increases for local road construction aid.  We achieve this despite having the lowest level of transportation borrowing in more than 20 years.


State spending growth will be less than 2 percent annually.  More than half of this budget's new appropriations support access to high-quality healthcare.  This budget invests in hospitals, long-term care facilities, dental clinics to make sure that our people have access to excellent care when you need it.


Now, here's the thing.  The budget that we assembled (and which passed in the Assembly with bipartisan support) is reasonable, responsible and realistic.  It's financially sustainable and it delivers on our promises.  It's good for all of Wisconsin, not just the biggest cities.  But if Governor Evers won't sign it into law, these smart decisions won't be fulfilled.  That would mean no tax cuts; no new transportation aids; no new healthcare support; even the federal K-12 funding would be in serious jeopardy.


Within days (maybe even hours), the bill will be on his desk.  I hope you'll join me in urging him to enact the responsible plan that your elected representatives and senators are presenting.


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In Other News...


. . . Late yesterday, Governor Evers vetoed a bill that I coauthored that would have ended Wisconsin's participation in providing bonus unemployment benefits.  He says there is a "lack of evidence" supporting our "notion" that paying bonuses to people who choose not to reenter the workforce is causing problems.  But that simply isn't true; the evidence of our workforce shortage is everywhere!  Prior to Covid-19, there were about 40,000 Wisconsinites receiving unemployment benefits; today, it's more like 100,000 people, and the data is showing that people are returning to work more rapidly in the other states who have already stopped the bonus payments.


. . . A series of election integrity bills have recently passed in both houses of the Legislature and are headed to Governor Evers' desk.  An in-depth nonpartisan audit of the fall 2020 election has been underway for some time (that report is due later this year), but in the meantime, we have identified several reforms that will help rebuild confidence in our state's already robust procedures.




. . . Another bill is headed to Governor Evers' desk aimed at preventing local governments from defunding their police.  Under SB 119, if a local government cuts its budget for hiring, training and retaining law enforcement officers, the state will reduce shared revenue aid to that local government by the same amount.  Frankly, I can't think of any challenges that Wisconsin communities face that would be resolved by having a smaller number of trained and ready police officers.  This bill would make sure there is no financial incentive for implementing the radical position of defunding the police.



Office of Representative Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
P.O. Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0656
Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov|  |