Gov. Scott Walker signed a nearly $76 billion two-year state budget Thursday in Neenah as he touted the state’s investment in education — from the elementary level through tech colleges and the UW System.
Addressing a gym at a Neenah elementary school before signing the document, Walker talked up a historic investment in K-12 education, more opportunities at tech colleges and the extension of a tuition freeze at the UW System for another two years.
Walker, who’s expected to announce this fall he will seek a third term next year, also noted the property tax bill on a median-valued home is expected to be lower in 2018 than in 2014.
Flanked by elementary students, the guv said this budget proves there isn’t a choice between putting more money into schools or lowering property taxes.
“The nice thing in this budget is you get both,” Walker said.
Walker then invited the students on risers behind him to crowd around the table where he signed the budget. Lawmakers in attendance also joined around him for the signing ceremony, which comes nearly 12 weeks after the fiscal year began. The desk included a sign that read “More money for schools” at the top and “Lower property taxes” across the bottom. He did not take questions from reporters following the signing ceremony.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said afterward his caucus plans to meet in mid-October to discuss possible veto overrides.
“We’re not going to presuppose anything,” he said. “We’re going to let our discussions with caucus lead the way and see what our members think.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, did not respond to a voicemail, but he told media at the bill signing his chamber will not consider override votes.
Walker issued 99 vetoes, including many education items. See yesterday’s PM Update and the Budget Blog for more.
Dems continued to slam the budget as Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said it “rigs the economy for the wealthy.”
She knocked Walker’s veto to wipe out a plan to boost spending for low-revenue districts at the same time the guv approved a GOP legislative plan to eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which she said amounted to a tax break for 47 millionaires.
Incoming Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, also focused on that, saying the budget would continue to force low-revenue districts to governor “via referendum.”
“While it’s positive that there’s new money and there’s not cuts, there are still the same districts that have struggled, will continue to struggle, despite the budget and will be faced with the not popular option of attempting to keep the lights on and maintaining their teachers by going to the voters,” Hintz said.
See more reaction to the budget signing at the press release page:
See the complete budget language: