April 15, 2021

April Floor Session

The legislature took action on multiple measures during the April floor session in Madison. With the state budget process underway, the main focus was on the one-time federal funds coming from Washington to Wisconsin.

Prioritizing Federal Funding

As you know, Congress passed the $1.9 trillion ďAmerican Rescue Plan of 2021,Ē which among other things, allocated billions for the states. While I strongly oppose the outrageous amounts of spending approved in Washington, I do believe that the money must have legislative oversight and transparency as to how it is spent here in Wisconsin. Unfortunately Governor Evers continues to have a go-it-alone strategy, and vetoed legislation we sent him that would have guaranteed legislative oversight of these funds. Therefore, the legislature convened to allocate funding for priorities that benefit Wisconsinites.

Of the $1.9 trillion, Wisconsin is set to receive around $5.7 billion, with about $3.2 billion being discretionary funding. Below are the areas we prioritized to allocate this one-time federal funding:

  • Aid to Households: $1 billion to provide a 10 percent payment to all property taxpayers
  • Small Business Assistance: $200 million for small business grants
  • Tourism Assistance: $50 million for tourism grants to revitalize the industry
  • Debt Repayment: $250 million to pay down state debt and $250 million to pay off transportation revenue bonds
  • Local Road Funding: $308 million to give $2 million per county and $2,000 per road mile to cities, villages and towns for road improvements
  • Long-term Care Assistance: $150 million for grants for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and worker bonuses
  • Rural Economic Development & Farmer Assistance: $50 million for rural economic development grants and $50 million for farmer support funds
  • Strengthen Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund: Requires the use of recovery funds to keep UI taxes at lowest tax schedule
  • Broadband Expansion: $500 million in broadband expansion grants
  • EMS and Mental Health: $68.2 million for EMS technology upgrades and a psychiatric hospital in Eau Claire
  • Clean Water Investments: $61 million for water infrastructure projects
The package of bills above passed both the Assembly and Senate and now go to Governor Evers for his approval.


Preserving Statesí Rights

Our state is currently forecast to have a billion dollar surplus. However, if it was up the Democrats in Washington, Wisconsin would not be allowed to cut taxes over the next four years. Quite simply the Biden administration is attempting to crush states' rights by telling us how to run our state budgets. In fact, they attached strings to the federal aid, which prohibits states from reducing taxes over the next four years, but allows them to raise taxes freely. The last thing Wisconsin needs is Washington lecturing us on budgeting.

Therefore, the legislature also took action to preserve statesí rights by joining other states in a lawsuit against this federal overreach. We had previously requested Attorney General Josh Kaul to join the lawsuit but he refused to protect the taxpayer citizens that he was elected to serve.

The founding fathers didnít envision a system of government where the heavy hand of the federal government can direct each state how to allocate its budget. Below is a link to my recent floor speech on this topic. I will continue to fight for taxpayer and statesí rights.

https://youtu.be/TDc5AJ8euqU

Summer Sales Tax Holiday

In addition to the tourism assistance we passed as a part of prioritizing federal funding, the Assembly also passed a bill that would create a summer sales tax holiday. This is designed to give our tourism industry a jump-start this summer. Specifically, the bill would exempt certain establishments like restaurants, taverns, and other institutions in the hospitality industry from sales tax from June 1 to August 31, 2021.

Ensuring Holocaust Education

Did you know that according to a recent survey, nearly one-fourth of millennials did not know what the Holocaust was? This needs to be addressed. That is why we recently passed legislation that would guarantee Wisconsin students learn about the Holocaust. Watch the video below to hear the story of survivor Eva Zaret:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL17UiRGkUI




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Rep.August@legis.wi.gov
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State Capitol Room 119 West
PO Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708

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