Legislators React to the Joint Finance Version of the Budget

MacIver News Service | June 5, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] After more than 20 hours of debate on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Finance passed their version of Governor Scott Walker’s 2013-2015 state budget. On their final day of debate, JFC increased Walker’s income tax cut to $648 million, modified the school choice expansion to be statewide but capped at 1,000 students, and increased per pupil spending on K-12 public education by $150 each year in the biennium.

Here is what some legislators had to say about the budget:

JFC Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette):

“We have our fiscal house in order. It would be irresponsible to send the state, and more importantly Medicaid patients, back into uncertainty because the federal government doesn’t honor another commitment…Our nation is a staggering $16.5 trillion in debt. We simply can’t count on the money being there in the future. The health of our citizens is too valuable to risk on political games played in Washington.”

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls):

“Today’s vote by the Legislature’s budget-writing committee is great news for state taxpayers as we doubled the size of the Governor’s proposed tax cut, bringing relief to middle-class families and job creators. The budget proposal also protects homeowners and small businesses by holding the line on property taxes.”

Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan):

“Due to good fiscal management and a continued effort to grow private sector jobs in our state our proposed budget plan provides substantial tax relief to the hard working citizens of Wisconsin while appropriately funding key government services like education, health care and transportation.”

Rep. Patricia Strachota (R-West Bend):

“Wisconsin taxpayers will see nearly $650 million in tax relief in this budget. This is an important step for our state to continue reducing our high tax burden and simplify our tax code.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee):

“At 1:20 a.m., Senate and Assembly Joint Finance Committee members presented their extreme education agenda that expands taxpayer funded vouchers for private schools statewide while continuing to underfund community public schools. They also announced a tax plan that gives huge tax breaks for Wisconsin’s wealthiest, but only pennies to Wisconsin’s middle-class families who are struggling the most in Governor Walker’s lagging economy.”

Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine):

“The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis made clear that the Republicans’ plan, made part of the state budget today, is $119 million more expensive than accepting the federal Medicaid expansion and provides health care coverage to 84,700 fewer Wisconsin residents.”

Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee):

“Denying families the security that comes from knowing they can see a doctor and not worrying they are one health scare away from financial ruin is cruel. Charging the rest of the taxpayers more to do so is simply inexplicable.”

Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse):

“After days of backroom deals and special interest input, the budget approved by Republican party leaders continues the same failed policies of the past…it fails to make the immediate investment in proven job creation programs that are needed to jumpstart Wisconsin’s struggling economy.”