The Legislature completed our work on the state budget, and I am proud to say that we invest in the people and the needs of our communities while protecting taxpayers. It is especially helpful for rural Wisconsin, and I have worked hard to make sure the rural voice was heard in this discussion. Rural Wisconsin matters.
Our budget funds the priorities of the people I serve. We put a lot of money into the things our constituents told us to fund — roads, healthcare, education and more. We did not cut anything.
We increased funding for roads to nearly $1 billion by 2021, including a massive investment in local, rural roads of $156 million for towns, counties and municipalities. We dedicated $1.6 billion for health care access and increased reimbursement rates for nursing homes, personal care workers and direct care workers. We also increased funding for rural hospitals.
Public schools get $500 million more! Total spending for schools will be $12.3 billion in the next biennium. We responded to the three top requests from school districts — we increased per-pupil aid, increased special education funding and made sure our funding is sustainable.
We included $44 million for rural broadband. The University of Wisconsin System gets more than $100 million, and $1.2 billion in capital projects. We made significant investments for water quality and funded the Dairy Innovation Hub.
On top of funding our priorities, we also included a middle class tax cut for working families. The taxpayers earned it!
The Legislature’s budget invests in the people and needs of all of our communities. We heard our constituents. We responded. We invested. I hope Gov. Evers signs this budget and gives our schools, communities and taxpayers certainty as we move into the new budget year.
Sen. Howard Marklein, of Spring Green, is a Republican member of the state Senate and a member of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee.
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