I was honored to vote last week in favor of the 2021-2023 budget for the State of Wisconsin. Crafting our state’s biannual budget is the most important job we have in the legislature each session.
Budgets should reflect the priorities of our state, and I am proud to say that we accomplished that this biennium. This budget increases state investments in transportation, education, and mental health, while also returning more money to Wisconsin taxpayers through historic tax cuts.
The most common issue I hear about when I am out in the 42nd Assembly District is the condition of our roads. I am glad to say that this budget continues the trend of the last few and makes significant investments in transportation funding. Local transportation aids will see a 2% increase in each year of the biennium and funding for the local supplement grant program will be increased to $100 million dollars, $25 million more than requested by Governor Evers.
Additionally, we are committing $60 million more than the governor asked for to state highway projects. Despite these increases in transportation funding, the Republican budget was able to reduce borrowing for road projects by over $300 million.
I am also proud to report that we are making significant investments in education and student mental health. Schools that remained in-person will see a minimum per-pupil funding increase of $781. State funding for special education will increase by 10%, or $86 million, which will be the highest dollar amount ever. Additionally, high cost special education reimbursement rates will increase from 31% to 40%.
Most importantly though, state funding for education will return to the two-thirds that the state committed to in the 1990s. This will be the first time we have done that since dropping beneath that level in Governor Jim Doyle’s 2003-2005 budget.
School mental health funding will also be increased for the third budget in a row. An additional $12 million in funding will be provided for mental health categorical aid. School-based mental health service grants will also see an additional $7 million in funding, which matches what was requested by Governor Evers.
The legislature has also committed to returning more money to you, the taxpayers, in this budget. Due to responsible Republican fiscal policies over the past decade, this budget will provide an historic $3.4 billion tax cut to Wisconsin families and businesses. Income tax cuts and property tax relief will save the typical Wisconsin family around $1200 this biennium.
Additionally, Wisconsin will join 26 other states that exempt active duty military pay from state income tax in some form. Finally, the state will spend around $200 million to eliminate the state personal property tax law, which is burdensome to both large and small businesses.
I am incredibly satisfied with the budget we passed and the benefits it will bring to the residents of the 42nd Assembly District.
As always, I love hearing from my constituents and helping them with any state government issues they may have. My office can be reached at 608-266-3404 or at Rep.Plumer@legis.wi.gov. I look forward to hearing from you and to keep moving Wisconsin Forward.