What you need to know and (might have missed) in the Republican budget

Jun 29, 2021 | Policy

With the Wisconsin legislature scheduled to vote today and tomorrow on the proposed budget from the Republican-majority in the Joint Finance Committee, the Institute for Reforming Government has released a summary of their proposed 2021-2023 state budget. Explained so that the anyone can better understand what is happening in Madison this week, we discuss important issues to Wisconsin families like, spending, taxes, higher education, K-12 education, healthcare, and more. 

The full JFC budget recap can be found here (and our summary of Governor Evers’ budget here). Check out the highlights below:

>  While Governor Evers’ proposed budget includes unprecedented state spending increases – on top of a net billion-dollar tax increase AND on top of unprecedented spending increases from the federal government through COVID relief funding – the Republicans on Joint Finance Committee built a budget that lowers the tax burden on everyday Wisconsinites while utilizing federal COVID relief funding to significantly increase investments in education and healthcare.

>  While Governor Evers proposed raising taxes by more than one billion dollars, the JFC budget cuts taxes by $3.4 billion. 

>  The JFC budget spends $3.7 billion less than the Governor’s proposal (with 483 less state government positions). Yet, the JFC budget will spend around $4.5 billion more than existing law. Budgeting for tomorrow, the JFC budget transfers $550 million to the “Rainy Day Fund.”

>  The JFC budget would create a deficit of only $286 million for the 2023-2025 budget, which according to Wispolitics, “would be one of the smallest structural deficits over the past two decades.” Governor Evers’ proposal would have created a structural deficit 4 times larger ($1.3 billion).

>  The JFC budget rejects the expansion of government-run healthcare while spending $3.5 billion more than the current budget with strategic investments including mental health care, substance use disorders, nursing homes, dental health access, and various provider reimbursement adjustments.

>  The JFC budget increases spending on K-12 by over $670 million, providing a funding increase for all schools and satisfying federal requirements (so-called “maintenance of effort”) while lowering the property tax burden and rewarding school districts that made the decision to stay open during COVID-19.