Breaking with Tradition: How Wisconsin Lawmakers Have Shortchanged a Legacy of Investment in the State’s Future
Since 2011, a majority of state lawmakers have turned their backs on Wisconsin’s long and proud history of investment in education, health care and other assets that once ensured the state’s civic and economic progress.
The erosion of the Homestead Credit is an example of how failing to account for even small increases in the cost of living can harm tax relief in a significant way.
Workers in Wisconsin and across the U.S. must still cope with a relatively weak labor market. That is especially challenging for low-wage workers who are struggling with the declining value of the minimum wage, reductions in employer benefits like health care, and growing inequality. Those challenges are exacerbated in Wisconsin by budget decisions made by state lawmakers.
One of the very disappointing things about the biennial budget bill is that fiscal conservatives who espoused responsible budgeting two years ago seemed to forget many of those principles this year.
Wisconsin’s 2013-15 budget bill employs a “Robin Hood in reverse” strategy for allocating resources. This issue brief explains ten significant examples of how the new budget shifts funding from the poor to the wealthy.
Local governments lose ground under the 2013-15 budget, with state aid for local governments frozen or nearly so over the next two years. This freeze comes after several years of steady decreases in state spending for local assistance.
The budget passed by the Legislature’s budget committee includes a significant income tax cut and new resources for tax enforcement.
The budget cuts $17 million in the first year, and $14 million in the second year, compared to the 2012-13 base level for child care.
The budget partially closes the current gap in BadgerCare by extending eligibility to all adults below the poverty level who don’t have children, while cutting in half the current income eligibility ceiling for parents and caretakers.
Wisconsin should not postpone a requirement to increase the minimum balance in the state’s general fund.