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Wednesday, the GOP budget proposal was approved by the Senate with a 17-16 vote and is now on its way to Governor Tony Evers. Unfortunately, the GOP budget was incredibly disappointing compared to the People's Budget, and removed common-sense proposals and slashed investments in our communities. 

The Republican budget that passed through the legislature is a missed opportunity to invest more money in classrooms, increase access to quality affordable health care, and ensure every Wisconsinite has access to clean drinking water. Republicans ignored the will of the people in order to protect massive tax giveaways for highly wealthy individuals and corporations. After 8 years of failed leadership, we know that it is time for change. Democrats believe that we need bold, innovative solutions to make Wisconsin a place that future generations want to live. The budget that passed missed the mark. 

Jon Erpenbach
Wisconsin State Senate, District 27




Statement from Senator Erpenbach: Republican Budget Misses Mark

The GOP budget contained several differences compared to the one that passed through the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) in order to satisfy even more special interest groups at the expense of Wisconsinites. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats introduced several amendments to keep intact key proposals in the People’s Budget, including investing in schools, increasing access to affordable health care, and ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, Republicans voted against these common-sense proposals and against the communities that they represent.

It is a sad day for Wisconsin, because the budget that is on its way to Governor Evers’ desk is incredibly disappointing compared to what he originally introduced. Republicans chose to reject bringing home 1.2 billion of your federal dollars a year to expand Medicaid; slashed school funding compared to the People’s Budget, including special education by 83%; deleted provisions to ensure access to clean drinking water; and provided less tax relief to Wisconsinites in order to protect massive tax giveaways to the wealthy. These are some examples of the many missed opportunities in this budget. We need bold, innovative solutions in order to make Wisconsin a place where future generations want to work and live – the Republican budget misses the mark.


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Senate Democrats fight for the Medicaid Expansion: 

The Republican decision to not expand Medicaid is the most baffling, and financially irresponsible decision that they have made during the current budget process.  The GOP’s budget spends 317.4 million more of your state dollars, and rejects bringing home 1,236.6 billion in federal dollars compared to the People’s Budget. Additionally, according to an analysis by the Department of Revenue, by not expanding Medicaid, Wisconsinites will pay over a billion a year to support the expansion in other states, without seeing any financial benefit or return. Wisconsin taxpayers will bear this cost regardless.

The financial benefits of the Medicaid Expansion are clear and indisputable; but the impact it will have on the health of our state is what is truly remarkable. Wisconsin would have been able to cover an additional 82,000 people, while protecting the 1.2 million residents who already rely on the program for high quality care. Additionally, Wisconsin would be able to use the federal dollars to eliminate health disparities, invest in behavioral health and substance abuse services, and bring down prescription drug prices for seniors.

From an overall lowering of insurance premiums and keeping hospital doors open, to making incredible investments in programs that improve health outcomes in Wisconsin, the arguments for the Medicaid expansion far outweigh any that Republicans construct against it. That is why Democrats continue to fight for the proposal and introduced an amendment that would restore several important health care programs that the GOP eliminated and bring our federal Medicaid dollars home to Wisconsin. Republicans rejected the amendment along party lines. 


Senator Erpenbach delivered a speech on the Medicaid expansion. Watch it here. 


Community Programs and Announcements 

Update from the DATCP: Meeting Wisconsin’s Conservation Challenges: New Annual Report Now Available

"Torrential rains, flooding, and water quality concerns underscore the importance of addressing conservation challenges, says the introduction to the newly published 2018 Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Annual Report. The report tells the stories of how county conservation offices successfully rose to those challenges last year.


Land and water conservation staff in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) recently presented the report to the Land and Water Conservation Board. It is available online. The report details the amount spent on land and water conservation in the state, lists the projects undertaken, and highlights conservation successes in 15 counties."


Read more. 

Update from the DNR:





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