GOP Budget Fails to Invest in Wisconsin’s Priorities

After weeks of stalled negotiations, public  in-fighting, and partisan political gamesmanship, legislative Republicans today announced that they had allegedly reached a deal on Scott Walker’s “crap budget,” yet today’s budget press conference leaves Wisconsin with more questions than answers on how exactly Republicans will fix the budget crisis created by four years of their poor choices.

The budget proposal, which is still light on details, will reportedly include $850 million bonding, to include $500 million in transportation bonding. But even this significant amount of borrowing that kicks the can down the road isn’t enough to support all of the needed investments in infrastructure; Republican leaders acknowledged that a number of road projects would need to be delayed around the state, jeopardizing thousands of construction jobs.

News of the budget agreement came as the state Department of Public Instruction was releasing estimates that 234 Wisconsin public school districts -- approximately 55 percent – would receive less in state general aid than they did in the previous year. But while there’s troubling news for our public schools, many that are still in tough budget situations after facing a $1.6 billion cut in Walker’s first budget, the largest cut to public education in Wisconsin history, unaccountable voucher schools remain poised to receive millions of dollars in taxpayer funding.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning released the following statement in response to the GOP budget deal:

“Investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and public education don’t just build stronger communities all over the state; they drive economic growth and opportunity for all by making our state a more attractive place for businesses to invest. That’s why Democrats have been fighting all session to fully fund our public schools, bring Wisconsin’s tax dollars back home to expand BadgerCare, and create family-supporting jobs while improving our transportation infrastructure.

“This budget makes clear yet again that legislative Republicans either don’t understand what it takes to strengthen the middle class or they simply don’t care.

“Wisconsin’s budget is in crisis because of the poor choices we’ve seen out of Republican leadership over the past four and a half years – doubling down on the same failed ideas that have Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest in private sector job growth and lagging in wage growth is not going to turn our economy around.

“Even with the proposed changes from the legislature, this budget still puts Scott Walker’s presidential ambitions ahead of working Wisconsin families. If the best thing legislative Republicans can highlight about the 11th hour deal they struck is that it will hurt everyone in our state equally, maybe they need to work on a better plan.”