The Wisconsin State Assembly convened its April floor session on Tuesday with the focus on the top priorities of our constituents: good roads, broadband expansion, property tax relief and support for small businesses. Assembly Republicans brought forward a package of bills that map out sound spending plans for the one-time federal stimulus dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
You may recall we already advanced legislation to establish legislative oversight for the billions of federal COVID dollars, but the governor chose to veto that measure two times. So, we decided to go at it differently by offering up investments that we all know can be made with the $3.2 billion coming to Wisconsin from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Our legislative package included the following:
- Aid to Households: $1 billion to provide a 10 percent payment to all property taxpayers
- Small Business Assistance: $200 million for small business grants
- Tourism Assistance: $50 million for tourism grants and $25 million for advertising grants for amusement parks
- Rural Economic Development & Farmer Assistance: $50 million for rural economic development grants and $50 million for farmer support funds
- Long-term Care Assistance: $150 million for grants for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and worker bonuses
- Strengthen Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund: Requires the use of recovery funds to keep UI taxes at lowest tax schedule
- Local Road Funding: $308 million to give $2 million per county and $2,000 per road mile to cities, villages and towns for road improvements
- Broadband Expansion: $500 million in broadband expansion grants
- EMS and Mental Health: $68.2 million for EMS technology upgrades and a psychiatric hospital in Eau Claire
- Debt Repayment: $250 million to pay down state debt and $250 million to pay off transportation revenue bonds
- Clean Water Investments: $61 million for water infrastructure projects
We invite the governor to join us in supporting these shared priorities. We can and should use these one-time dollars on important investments that will not only help our state now but will make an impact on our state's future.
The Assembly floor session also included a bipartisan approval of a summer sales tax holiday for the hospitality industry and a resolution asking the Wisconsin Attorney General to be part of a multi-state lawsuit challenging the Federal Tax Mandate that prevents states from reducing taxes for three years.