There are times that it seems Democrats forget they're spending your hard-earned money. Since the beginning of the 2021-22 legislative session, Republicans have been working to ensure your voice is heard regarding the allocation of the federal stimulus dollars.
The first bill the legislative passed this year, which the governor vetoed, established legislative oversight of the billions of federal COVID dollars being sent to Wisconsin. Later in March, Governor Evers once again vetoed a second bill, the Truth in Spending Act, SB 183, giving Wisconsin residents through their representatives an opportunity to be included in the decision-making process. These bills would not only have allowed for public input, but also transparency, which everyone should want. Roughly 26 other states have similar oversight measures as Wisconsin once did in 2009 when Democrats were in control of the legislature.
This next week when the Assembly holds a floor session, we will take up 11 bills that establishes priorities for the more than $3 billion in federal stimulus dollars headed to the Badger State. These are common sense bills that reflect the needs of the entire state:
- Investment into water infrastructure
- Tourism industry grants
- Broadband expansion grants
- Debt repayment and transportation revenue bonds
- Aid to households: 10% property tax rebate
- Rural economic development investment
- Small business grants
- Improvements to emergency services
- Funding for local roads and bridges
- Support for long-term care facilities/long-term care workforce
- UI trust fund deposit to prevent schedule/rate increase on businesses
The Assembly will also vote on legislation to require schools to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides. In addition, we're looking at incorporating a sales tax holiday this summer for the hospitality industry.
At the end of the day, the question is whether one person should have the sole authority over how billions of your taxpayers dollars should be spent. Let's put the issue into perspective: with the two federal stimulus acts, the governor has discretion of more than $5 billion, which is more than the increase in spending in the current All Funds budget. Keep in mind, we spend months getting your input and debating how to spend your taxpayer dollars in the biennial budget. Why should federal stimulus dollars be any different?