Lawmakers to vote on state budget, what’s in what’s out?

MADISON (WKOW) — Lawmakers will vote on whether to approve an $80.5 billion two-year spending plan Tuesday that was rewritten by the powerful Republican controlled joint finance committee.

Over the past two months, Republicans on joint finance revised Democratic Governor Tony Evers budget proposal. Several of Evers’ policy items and proposals he campaigned on are not included, the biggest one, expanding Medicaid, also known as BadgerCare.

The governor will have the final say once the budget is delivered to his desk where he can use one of the most powerful veto pens in the nation. Evers has three choices, to sign the budget bill as is, veto it entirely or use a line-item veto make changes to his liking.

If the budget doesn’t pass by the June 30th deadline, spending levels from this current budget cycle will remain in place. The government will not shutdown and the state will continue to operate with current spending levels until a new state budget is signed into law.

Here’s a list of what’s inside the 2019-2021 budget bill.

K-12 Education:

Schools across the state would get an additional $500 million in funding under the current proposal.

  • $97 million new funding for students with disabilities
  • Increase $200/per pupil in 2019
  • Increase $204/per pupil by 2020

This plan increases K-12 funding from last year but far less than what Evers proposed which was $1.4 billion over two years.

Higher Education, UW System:

In-state college students will see another round of tuition freezes for the next two years at all UW campuses. Campuses will also get $57.7 million for programs and $1 billion toward building upgrades. These figures are close to what Evers’ introduced.

Transportation, Road Funding:

Construction projects would see an investment of $484 million, but drivers in Wisconsin would pay a $10 increase when registering their vehicle.

Republicans tossed out Gov. Tony Evers transportation plan that would have increased the gas tax by 8 cents a gallon. Instead, title fees would more than double in cost from $69 to $164 and vehicle registration fees would cost $85.

The total package would generate $393 million in new revenue and $90 million from the state’s general fund to pay for road projects, about $200 million less than Evers wanted. However, this is the largest transportation increase in any budget compared to spending plans signed by then-governor Scott Walker.

Health care:

Lawmakers will vote to approve $588 million in new funding for health care.

  • $94 million increase for personal care workers
  • $148 million towards large hospitals who provide care for low-income people
  • $24.6 million for higher reimbursements to cover mental, behavioral and psychiatric health services

The joint finance committee voted against Evers’ plan to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin which could have freed up more than $300 million to pay for other health care incentives.

Taxes:

Taxes would be cut by about $75 a person this year under Republican lawmakers proposal. It would also reduce income taxes by about $450 million.

  • Lowest tax bracket decrease from 4% to 3.7% in 2020
  • Second-lowest bracket would decrease from 5.8 % to 4.9% in 2020

Evers plan instead would have cut taxes by about $216 per person in 2019. His plan would be paid for by rolling back tax credits for manufacturers and capital gains. This was rejected by Republicans in committee.

WQOW Staff

WQOW Staff

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