Wisconsin’s two-year state budget right now is at $87.5 billion.
That is more than the state budget in Illinois. And Illinois has twice as many people, and many more times the state debt.
It is great that we are spending less than what Gov. Evers wants, but we are still spending more.
Total spending is $4.5 billion more than the last state budget. That’s $2 billion more each year. That is money from you.
Where is it going?
From The Center Square:
The disagreement at the Wisconsin Capitol over the next state budget comes down to different visions. And money, lots of money.
Republicans began the process Tuesday afternoon of approving the state’s new $87.5 billion, two-year state budget.
“The budget that we focused [on[ is one the really connects with the average Wisconsin family, the average Wisconsin business,” Assembly Speaker Ron Vos, R-Rochester, told reporters ahead of the vote.
Democrats at the Capitol are upset that the budget doesn’t spend more.
“With $5.7 billion more, $6.3 billion more if you consider the Medicaid money we could have taken, we had an opportunity to change generational needs, “ Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said. “But Republicans are throwing this opportunity away.”
Vos said Republicans are simply saying ‘No’ to Gov. Tony Evers’ plans to tax and spend more.
“His budget had dramatic tax increases,” Vos explained. “It had massive increases in spending, expansion of welfare, legalizing marijuana, and all kinds of social policy issues that the Joint Finance Committee took out of the budget.”
The new budget does, however, spend $4.5 billion more than the current spending plan.
The centerpiece of the Republican budget is a $3.4 billion tax cut.
“There’s an income tax cut of about $2.6 billion,” Rep. Terry Katsma, R-Oostburg explained. “The other component is about $650 million that is going into real estate tax relief...And the third component is getting rid of the personal property tax. The cost of that is $200 million.”
The new state budget also spends more on public schools and the UW System.
K-12 schools will see both more state aid and more money for specific items like special education. Democrats complain that there is only $128 million in new money for schools, but Republicans counter that schools in the state are in-line for $687 million more. Not to mention $2.5 billion in coronavirus stimulus money over the next two years.
The new budget also ends the eight-year-old tuition freeze for the UW System. It’s not clear, however, how much money that could mean for the university. No one has said how much tuition will increase next year.
The Assembly is set to approve the budget Tuesday. It is expected to clear the Senate Wednesday. Then it heads to a less than certain fate on Gov. Evers’ desk after that.
Photo Credit: Getty Images