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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.

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!

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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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