June 18, 2021

Legislature to Cut Taxes by $3.4 Billion

This week the GOP-led legislature finalized its plans for the biennial state budget bill. The big announcement was the unveiling of a $3.4 billion middle class tax cut. This generational tax cut would result in the average taxpayer seeing a reduction of $1,200 in the form of lower income and property taxes.

The tax cut followed the announcement by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that Wisconsin’s budget surplus has grown to over $4 billion more revenue than expected. Therefore, we are sending $3.4 billion back to taxpayers in the form of an income and property tax cut. I’ve always believed a surplus means the government has collected too much of your hard-earned money. It continues to be my priority to get the money back to you, the taxpayer, before special interests in Madison can spend it. This tax cut will build upon the over $13 billion in state and local tax relief we have enacted since my first term in 2011.

Historic Education Funding

In addition to the income and property tax cuts, we funded education at historic levels. The previous state budget allocated $568 million to K-12 education, while this budget will invest $3.1 billion, including federal COVID aid. Additionally, we were able to reach the goal of 2/3rds funding for our K-12 schools. Under our plan, state aid to our schools is estimated to be 68% in the second year of the biennial budget.

Investing in Roads & Infrastructure

The legislature has also made investing in our roads and infrastructure a top priority. The GOP-led budget will invest more than Governor Evers in local roads and the State Highway Rehabilitation Program. We will also borrow far less than the Governor to pay for road upgrades. In fact, this is the lowest amount of new bonding for transportation in over 20 years. Republicans are enacting a long-term revenue increase for transportation, which includes not only a one-time 1% general fund transfer in year one, but also an ongoing .5% general fund transfer. This will provide roughly $300 million of General Purpose Revenue (GPR) into the Transportation Fund.

Healthy Rainy Day Fund

Finally, we made sure the budget was responsibly crafted by ensuring a healthy “rainy day” balance. This protects our state’s checkbook against any future economic downturn. This week, on the heels of news that our surplus had grown, we made an additional $200 million transfer to the rainy day fund. The transfer is on top of the $350 million previously approved by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Overall, the rainy day fund balance will grow to over $2 billion.

Overall, I’m proud of the work our Republican JFC team has done to craft a balanced budget that cuts taxes while still investing in our priorities. Due to the fiscally responsible policies of Republicans, we've been able to increase funding for special education and mental health in our schools, invest in hospitals and nursing homes, increase funding for state and local roads, and most importantly, cut your taxes by billions of dollars. We have done all of this without raising taxes and expanding welfare like Governor Evers proposed in his initial budget.

After being passed by JFC, the budget bill will now be voted on by the full State Assembly and State Senate. Once approved by both houses, it will be sent to Governor Evers for his consideration.

Prohibiting Vaccine Passports

My legislation that would prohibit "vaccine passports" passed the State Assembly on a bipartisan vote this week.

So called “vaccine passports” are a physical or digital copy of your medical record showing that you have or have not taken a full slate of covid-19 vaccines. Such passports could then be used to deny entry into businesses, schools, concerts, parks, or any other place a government or private entity wishes to discriminate based on vaccine status.

While we have been encouraging folks to get vaccinated if that's the proper health-care decision for them, we also don’t believe people have to share their personal health information just to go about their daily lives.

My bill would not allow governmental entities or businesses to discriminate against people based on their covid-19 vaccine status by prohibiting the required use of vaccine passports.

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Rep.August@legis.wi.gov
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PO Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708

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