State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, said, the budget makes significant spending cuts to close the record $6.6 billion state budget shortfall.
“No one would argue that this budget is perfect. But in the face of a record-breaking deficit caused by a national economic crisis, we have succeeded in producing a balanced, on-time budget that protects Wisconsin’s priorities of education, job creation, economic development, the environment and public safety,” Mason said.
The budget includes $3.2 billion in spending cuts and 6.1% in across-the-board state agency cuts. It also includes more than $2.1 billion in tax and fee increases, like a reduction in the capital gains tax exemption, an income tax increase for the wealthy and a 75-cent per pack increase in cigarette taxes.
Mason highlighted several items:
• Keeps the KRM commuter rail line on track to be approved by the federal government and to bring $250 million in investment and jobs to the region;
• Provides relief to property taxpayers by increasing funding for the First Dollar Credit and increasing funding for county-owned nursing homes;
• Reinstates tax deductible college savings accounts;
• Eliminates the proposed gas tax increase;
• Increases municipal recycling grants by $5 million to help local governments recycle and keep down property taxes;
• Maintains the safety net for county human services to assist those seeking work and assistance during these tough times;
• Indexes the Homestead Tax Credit for renters and homeowners to keep pace with inflation; and
• Requires that all drivers on the road to carry auto insurance.