Wisconsin Capitol building file photo (copy) (copy)

Following his victory last fall, Gov. Tony Evers hit the road to visit communities across Wisconsin. After months of open discussions with community leaders, students, families and seniors, he introduced the people’s budget to address the issues impacting Wisconsinites every single day.

There was overwhelming support from school administrators, local health clinics and community leaders for the people’s budget that reinvests in our state. It was the first time in eight years Wisconsinites finally saw a budget vision that put their needs first. Yet, despite the public support, Republicans dismantled it in order to further rig the economy against the middle-class and advance their special interest agenda.

Families and Wisconsin communities deserve better than the scrapped-together Republican budget proposal that continues to delay road projects, increase health care costs and shift money away from our classrooms and higher education.

To reestablish Wisconsin as a leader in K-12 education, the people’s budget invested a total of $1.4 billion more into local classrooms. Republicans rejected that proposal and cut over $500 million in special education funding from the budget.

The people’s budget accepted $1.6 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid and increase affordable health care coverage to 82,000 Wisconsinites while also lowering premiums. Republicans blocked that proposal and rejected money that could be used to address the opioid epidemic, improve access to dental and mental health care and increase funding for nursing home and dementia care specialists, and pushed for a plan that covers fewer people with a higher price tag.

The people’s budget made historic investments to help communities that are grappling with crumbling roads, potholes and flood damage, which was once again rejected by Republicans.

Evers’ original budget proposal championed innovative solutions, promoted a fair economy and expanded opportunities for families and communities.

For too long, the progress of our state has been hindered by Republican tax giveaways that leave families paying more for less.

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Let’s not settle for the broken Republican status quo. Let’s invest in our state and restore Wisconsin’s reputation as a place where the next generation wants to live, work and raise a family.

Our state, our communities, and our families shouldn’t settle for anything less than the change they voted for last fall.

Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic leader and represents the 32nd District which covers La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and parts of Monroe County.

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