MARINETTE — Over the last few months, you’ve probably heard a lot about Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal, which he calls the “People’s Budget.” Despite his rhetoric and clever titles, the governor’s proposed budget missed the mark.
Since then, Republicans in the Assembly have held over 200 budget-listening sessions around the state, meeting with thousands of constituents. We heard that a vast majority don’t want to expand welfare, want government to live within its means, and they don’t want taxes to go up. Unfortunately, Gov. Evers’ proposed budget does the exact opposite.
After listening to the citizens of Wisconsin, we created a budget to reflect the priorities of the people — that invests in people, not programs.
Our budget actually cuts taxes. Income taxes are cut by roughly $500 million. The governor’s budget increased taxes by $1.2 billion. We’re making sure you keep more of your money, not the government.
Our budget invests $1.6 billion into health care, without expanding welfare. We’re funding important programs for our state’s low-income and vulnerable individuals and families so that they have access to affordable and high-quality health care.
Our budget provides over $100 million for personal care workers, nursing homes and direct caregivers. This is more than the governor proposed. The need to invest in these areas was the number one item we heard about during our listening sessions.
Our budget provides $500 million in new resources for public schools. This means over $8,200 in new funding for the average classroom. This will have real-world impacts, ensuring that every child, regardless of zip code, receives the quality education they deserve.
Our budget reforms our criminal justice system and provides increased funding for prosecutors and public defenders to keep our communities safe and provide a speedy trial for the accused.
Our budget adequately funds our Technical College System and the University of Wisconsin System. We provided more funding for technical colleges than what was proposed by the governor. We’ve continued the tuition freeze while providing UW System with $100 million more.
Our budget also provides the largest back-to-back increases in local road aid since 1998. We funded more roads and provided more local aid than the governor. We provide a sustainable revenue stream for our roads, while at the same time we kept borrowing to the lowest level since the 2001 budget.
Our budget also includes funding for workforce development programs for talent recruitment and retention. With record low unemployment we need to invest in programs that prepare the workforce for the future.
If Gov. Evers wants to approve a great budget, he should look no further than our budget, which invests directly into the citizens of Wisconsin. This is a budget for all of Wisconsin.
Nygren, R-Marinette, is a leader of the Joint Finance Committee: Rep.Nygren@legis.wisconsin.gov.