August 19, 2021 — On August 22 of this year, the law creating the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) turns 25 years old, and that’s not a cause for celebration. At the national level and here in Wisconsin, TANF is serving only a small fraction of the families who are living in poverty and are eligible for assistance.
Budget and Taxes
August 9, 2021 — The huge tax cut that Wisconsin lawmakers passed in the state budget far outstrips the minimal investments they made in critical priorities like education, health, and workforce development. The size of the tax cut will make it harder for schools, communities, and families with low incomes to get the resources they need to thrive. Diverting billions of dollars to a tax cut that leaves out people with low incomes will also make it more difficult for the state to address the racial disparities that hold back Wisconsin.
July 30, 2021 — During a time of unprecedented revenue growth, the Legislature approved a higher education budget that does not include any significant new resources, and does not take steps to undo the steep budget cuts of past years or expand access to higher education. The legislature eliminated nearly all the additional higher education funding that the Governor recommended and had a plan to pay for.
Opportunity Wasted: Legislature Removes Nearly All Items Promoting Racial Equity from the State Budget
July 2021 — On many different indicators, Wisconsin is at or very near the top in terms of the severity of racial inequities, and those gaps are holding back our state. Governor Evers’ budget contained a broad range of measures aimed at reducing the disparities in Wisconsin. However, the Republican-controlled legislature scrapped his budget and started fresh, and their budget removed almost all of the Governor’s initiatives to create a more level playing field for people of color in our state.
June 30, 2021 — Wisconsin students across the state deserve access to an excellent public education, and Wisconsin residents should be able to enjoy the economic benefits generated by a first-class public school system. To ensure that the doors of opportunity are open to everyone, Wisconsin needs to invest in our students and our schools.
The K-12 education budget passed by the Wisconsin legislature fails to make those investments. The legislature made deep cuts to the governor’s budget proposal in special education aid, school mental health services, and English language learner services. This budget makes it less likely that schools will have adequate resources to combat the racial disparities in education that harm our students and hold back our state.
June 29, 2021 — The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee put forward a budget that in many ways continues the status quo while providing substantial increases for personal care services and boosting funding for certain Medicaid providers, such as dentists and emergency physicians. It also increases funding for hospitals, nursing homes, and behavioral health. However, the budget misses many opportunities to expand access to health care by rejecting BadgerCare expansion and does very little to address health disparities or maternal and child health. It further fails to pass health insurance consumer protections, allow reimbursement for community health workers and doula services, invest in public health, and expand treatment for children with high blood-lead levels.
Wisconsin Legislature Shows Budget Priorities by Voting Against Expanding Health Care, and For a Tax Cut for the Wealthy
May 13, 2021 — Last week the legislature’s budget committee removed a provision from the state budget that would have provided health insurance to almost 100,000 Wisconsin residents with low incomes, and would save the state more than a billion dollars in tax revenue over the next two years. On the same day, the committee preserved a tax cut that funnels millions of dollars into the pockets of a small group of the extremely wealthy who have rigged the system for their own benefit. This combination of actions demonstrates the legislature’s priorities so far in the budget process: making it more difficult for people with low incomes to meet their basic needs, while refusing to accept proposed changes that would require big corporations and the top 1% to pay their fair share.
May 6, 2021 — Republican legislators would like to kill off the idea of expanding BadgerCare eligibility by removing it from the Wisconsin budget, but it won’t go away that easily. It will keep coming back because the case for expansion is so compelling.
April 29, 2021 — The governor’s budget includes a number of significant changes in early education policy and financing. If approved, these changes would improve the well-being of our young children, reduce racial disparities, help parents participate in the workforce, and boost Wisconsin’s long-term prosperity. Every low-income family with an infant or toddler deserves equitable access to high quality, culturally, and linguistically responsive early care and education.
The Governor’s Proposed Budget for K-12 Education Increases Support for Public Schools and Promotes Racial Equity
April 6, 2021 — Governor Evers has proposed a budget that significantly increases aid for Wisconsin’s public schools, targets additional resources at identified needs, promotes racial equity, and limits the amount of public money that goes to private schools. His budget includes a $1.6 billion increase in total state support for public K-12 schools over the course of the two-year budget period, which runs through June 2023.