Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu applauded the budget for “investing in our core priorities,” citing the $3.5 billion tax cut, which lowers rates for all taxpayers and reduces the tax brackets from four to three.
“This is moving Wisconsin toward a flat tax,” said Devin LeMahieu.
Democrats claimed Devin LeMahieu’s Republicans squandered an opportunity to utilize the state’s expected $7 billion budget surplus to invest in topics that voters care about, such as financing for the University of Wisconsin and child care centers, and instead emphasized tax cuts for the rich.
Republicans voted down Democratic amendments that would have raised money for schools and the University of Washington, restored funds for a school safety office and a child care program, extended Medicaid, and refocused tax breaks on middle-income workers.
“I’m disappointed and disheartened,” Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Agard expressed her disappointment on Devin LeMahieu’s Republicans
The $99 billion budget is now on its way to the Republican-controlled Assembly, which was scheduled to vote on it Thursday. It would then be sent to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has the power to veto partial bills.
Evers also has the option of vetoing the entire budget, which would force the Legislature to start over, a move he has promised to make if the University of Washington’s funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs is reduced.
Evers has not said what he might veto.
Parts of a bipartisan agreement negotiated with Evers to raise K-12 education funding by $1 billion are included in the budget. Evers reached an agreement with Republican legislative leaders to increase funding for local governments by $1 billion. The agreement includes allowing Milwaukee County and City the option to raise local sales taxes to avoid bankruptcy.
According to Devin LeMahieu, this plan will assist Wisconsin residents by lowering taxes, increasing municipal services such as police, fire, and EMS, and improving schools.
Devin LeMahieu said that the budget proposal will have historic provisions.
“$1.2 billion in new spendable resources for public schools, the most in state history by a longshot. The largest increase in school choice programs since it was created,” Devin LeMahieu
After months of hard work by the Joint Committee on Finance, Republicans have finally passed a budget that invests wisely in crucial priorities while returning a record amount of money to taxpayers. Devin LeMahieu stipulated.