My Assembly Republican colleagues and I held press conferences around the state this week to announce how the $3.2 billion in state discretionary funds from the from the American Recue Plan Act of 2021 should be prioritized to help Wisconsinites. Yesterday, the governor vetoed the Truth in Spending Act, which created legislative oversight of those funds, choosing instead to determine where the funds should go on his own.
We’re putting forward this plan to make sure the people hurt most by the government’s response to the pandemic get help. We want to see that the federal funding is spent in the best possible way to maximize the ability for our state to grow and thrive after the pandemic.
Aid to Households - Wisconsin taxpayers were affected most by the pandemic. This is their money and they can spend it better than the government. This proposal provides $1 billion to give the equivalent of a 10% return of taxes paid by property owners statewide.
Investing in Long-Term Care – 45% of Wisconsin’s 6,598 COVID deaths have been in long-term care facilities. But, Governor Evers sent them less than 10% of his CARES Act discretionary funding. These facilities were hit severely by the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to recognize residents and staff and the difficult year they’ve been through.
Broadband Expansion – The governor said he would use a portion of the funds for broadband expansion, but his plan just isn’t enough. Our proposal invests $500 million of these federal funds to get broadband to approximately 95% of the state. A November 2020 report by Forward Analytics showed nearly 25% of rural residents (430,000) lack high-speed broadband while urban areas have near universal access.
We know that it took the legislature pushing the governor to fix the unemployment situation and the failure of the early vaccine rollout for things to get better. Now we have the economy to open and we’re going to make sure the funds are allocated wisely.