• Budget waits for Governor Evers' signature  

Budget Moves to Governor Evers  

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The Assembly met on Tuesday to take up the biennial budget for our state. 8 years of careful reforms and budgeting have given our state a strong financial future. State debt has declined to its lowest since 2009. The state’s rainy day fund is the largest it has ever been – over $300 million. The budget proposed by Governor Evers would have led to a structural deficit of $1.96 billion heading into the next budget and would have increased taxes, fees and revenue enhancements by $1.3 billion. We did all of the following (and more!) while still providing $500 million in income tax cuts and providing $60 million in property tax relief aid.

Transportation: Through emails, phone calls and listening sessions I heard from many people who were concerned about transportation funding. The budget passed by the Assembly increased funding for local road construction by $65 million and provided a 10% increase for local road aids. We tripled the Local Road Improvement program, adding $90 million to the program.

Education: Our budget increases funding for schools by $604 per student over two years. This is the same increase Governor Evers requested. We increased special education funding by 22% in the second year of the budget – the largest increase ever. We increased special education reimbursement to a level the Governor requested in his last budget as the Chief of the Department of Public Instruction. We doubled the current funding levels for mental health service grants so that all students will have access to professional assistance. We increased funding for the Wisconsin Technical College system by $25 million, more than the Governor asked for. We increased funding to the UW system by over $100 million.

Healthcare: We increased funding for personal care workers by $37 million over the biennium. We changed the current rate from $16.73/hour to $18.24 beginning July 1st, 2019. The budget the Governor proposed only increased personal care rates by $7 million over the biennium. Over the next two years we will more than double the base funding for the direct care workforce funding initiative.

Just as important as what is in the budget is what we took out of it. We removed over $1 billion in tax increases. We removed the Governor’s cap on school choice, which would have limited low income parents’ ability to choose the best school for their children. We removed the expansion of welfare programs and removal of drug testing requirements for those programs. Lastly, we removed his provision to provide driver’s licenses and tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.

The budget has passed the Assembly and the Senate. The Governor has some of the strongest veto privileges in the country, but I believe we have found common ground with this budget and I hope it will be signed.

Please click here to contact Governor Evers and ask him to sign this budget!