Wisconsin public schools face significant challenges, including a long-term reduction in resources, student-teacher ratios that have grown faster than the national average, and fewer experienced teachers.
Although the budget bill significantly increases state funding for Medicaid and BadgerCare in order to address cost increases, it also contains a number of cuts to important health care services. Those cuts and much of the increased spending from state revenue could be avoided if Wisconsin expanded BadgerCare eligibility to more low-income adults.
Budget decisions made by lawmakers help determine whether children in Wisconsin attend high‑quality public schools, have access to health care when they need it, and live in financially secure families. By making investments in children today, lawmakers can ensure that Wisconsin will have a well-educated, healthy workforce in the future, laying the foundation for broad-based prosperity and economic growth down the road.
The 2015-17 Wisconsin budget that has been signed into law includes more than $300 million in new tax cuts over the next two years. To pay for these tax cuts and close the deficit caused by past tax cuts, lawmakers have proposed reducing or providing only a very small increase in the support the state provides to critically important institutions.
The state’s budget choices are critical in determining whether the widening gap between wealthy and poor Wisconsinites continues to grow, or whether the state finally begins to narrow that gap.
The final 2015-17 Wisconsin budget that has been signed into law includes a Wisconsin Shares direct child care subsidy budget with an overall cut of $6.6 million over the biennium, including a funding decrease of $12.6 million in the first year for child care subsidies, and an increase of $6.0 million in the second year.
The 2015-17 Wisconsin budget minimally increases state support to public schools, lowers property taxes compared to what they would otherwise be, and devotes new resources to voucher schools.
The $300 million, two-year cut to the UW System proposed by Governor Walker will have severe adverse consequences for the quality of higher education in Wisconsin.
A summary version of an alternative budget plan for Wisconsin.