How Wisconsin Surrendered $1.3 Billion in Federal Money
According to a new report from the Wisconsin Budget Project, Wisconsin families will lose out on more than $1 billion in federal money for health care, job training, child support, education, and transportation as a result of decisions at the state level.
State budget cuts or incomplete funding of state programs meant Wisconsin did not capture an additional $506 million of federal funds that were available over the current biennium. In addition, Wisconsin turned down $803 million in two large federal grants, including a grant for high-speed rail. Federal spending in Wisconsin was $800 per person below the national average in 2010.
The Legislature bypassed at least four opportunities to capture additional federal match money for state services, according to the report. Had the Legislature fully funded state programs, Wisconsin would have had access to additional federal resources, including:
- $480 million in Medical Assistance money that would preserve access to health care for low-income working families;
- $13 million to support job training for disabled individuals;
- $8 million in money for child support enforcement; and
- $4 million for administration of Medical Assistance and food stamps.
Some lawmakers claim that the budget shortfall made it impossible for the state to provide the resources necessary to obtain the maximum amount of federal dollars. Yet, the Legislature was able to cut taxes by $210 million over this biennium, mostly benefitting businesses and well-off taxpayers. The Legislature prioritized these tax cuts over investing in Wisconsin’s health care system, job training, and other programs vital to our state’s economic future.
You can read the full report here.