Last week, Assembly Republicans passed a package of bills that mapped out sound spending plans for the one-time federal stimulus dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bills would have made sure there was a clear plan on how the $3.2 billion in discretionary funds from the federal government would be prioritized to help Wisconsin grow and thrive after the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the governor vetoed those bills this week. It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing he did this because he still hasn’t put forth a plan of his own on how to help Wisconsin with these relief funds. I’m glad he announced help for small businesses, but where is the rest of the money? Making vague promises in a press release is not a plan and Wisconsin deserves transparency in this decision making process.
Our legislative package would have provided that transparency. It included the following:
- Aid to Households: $1 billion to provide a 10 percent payment to all property taxpayers
- 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