By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin legislators were set Tuesday to begin taking the final votes on the 2021-23 state budget.
The Assembly was scheduled to vote on the $87 billion spending plan on Tuesday. The Senate was expected to follow suit on Wednesday and send the document to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who can use his partial veto powers to rewrite the document or kill it outright.
Here are some highlights of the budget as it currently stands:
Bolstered by rosier revenue projections, Republicans inserted $3.3 billion in income and property tax cuts into the budget. The provisions include $2.7 billion in cuts for people who earn between $24,000 and $264,000 annually and nearly $650 million in local property tax cuts for schools and technical colleges. The budget would backfill that lost revenue with state aid. Residents would see a property tax bill but schools would come out even.
There are no gas tax or vehicle registration fee increases. The budget would authorize the start of the oft-delayed Interstate 94 expansion project in Milwaukee County, as Evers wanted. State funding for transit programs was cut in half in Milwaukee and Madison, but Republicans said that was because those Democratic strongholds are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief money.
State building projects would receive $1.5 billion in funding, which is roughly $810 million less than what Evers wanted. The UW System would get about $629 million, down from the $1 billion Evers put forward.
Wisconsin’s land stewardship program would be extended for four years instead of the 10 that Evers wanted. The budget also would make $32 million per year available to acquire land, which is the amount available now but less than half of the $70 million Evers proposed.
The budget includes more money for vocational training for the disabled, and youth and adult apprentice programs with the goal of addressing the state’s worker shortage problem. However, Republicans rejected Evers’ call to spend $15 million to improve the system for administering unemployment payments. Republicans said Evers can use federal stimulus money for that.
Broadband expansion would get $125 million, which is less than the roughly $200 million Evers proposed. The money would also be borrowed rather than paid with cash, as Evers proposed.