Republicans have shown yet again it is possible to fund Wisconsin priorities like high-quality education for all students and investing in our roads while delivering much-needed tax relief to our residents and businesses. I applaud the Joint Finance Committee for their hard work on this spending plan, a budget made for Wisconsin. The Biennial budget passed Thursday night, with a 63-34 vote among party lines.
Governor Evers proposed a massive increase in state spending, which would have raised taxes on hardworking Wisconsin residents by over $2 billion. These new taxes would have gone towards expanding welfare, creating wasteful new government programs, and growing government.
The Republican plan reduces income taxes by $3.5 billion dollars—averaging $573 per filer each year. And while all taxpayers receive a benefit, our plan targets relief to the middle class—collapsing two brackets into one lower bracket. It also takes steps towards making our state tax rates more competitive with our neighbors. By lowering the top bracket by 1.15%, it brings us closer—although still higher—to the top rates of our Midwest neighbors.
While tax cuts are a critical part of the Republican budget, we’re also investing in key priorities we heard from Wisconsinites during our listening sessions statewide.
Republicans are making investments in our state’s infrastructure by increasing funding by $1.5 billion for local roads, bridges, and other critical means of travel throughout Wisconsin. Our budget increases funding for local roads by $285 million, through general transportation aids, the location road improvement program, and a new agricultural road improvement program.
The Republican motion also invests in transportation infrastructure such as bridges, harbors, airports, rail, and transit. We know these modes of transportation are critically important to moving goods and people throughout our state, and our investments will help bolster this important infrastructure.
The approved budget makes historic investments in K12 education, with over one billion dollars in additional funding going to classrooms throughout the state. Legislative Republicans know the importance of investing in our future generation, and provide funding in key areas like aid for mental health and literacy initiatives in our schools.
This includes the largest expansion of School Choice since the program was originally founded. For the thousands of parents in the Wisconsin School Choice program who are worried about the ability of their child to continue receiving a fair education, we’re proud to say the program will grow, thrive and prosper.
This agreement includes:
- More than $1 billion in new money for public schools
- Large per-pupil increases for the school choice program, allowing the program to expand slots statewide
- $97 million more for special education
- $30 million more for school mental health
While Wisconsin's unemployment rate is back to historic lows, the labor force participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels. Our budget reflects the need to address the workforce crisis by supporting talent attraction and retention initiatives and making critical investments in workforce housing.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to spend at least $4 million on talent attraction and recruitment initiatives. These funds are intended to market our state as the great place to live, work and raise a family that all of us living here know it is.
Our budget invests over half a billion dollars to support the development of next-generation housing. These are the right steps in reducing Wisconsin’s housing shortage and will make it easier for residents across the state to achieve the dream of homeownership.
I was proud to vote yes on this budget, hear more from my floor speech below.