Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — In his proposed 2019-21 state budget Gov. Tony Evers includes important steps to address the $1.5 trillion-plus student loan debt crisis and protect voting rights in Wisconsin.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher on Gov. Tony Evers’ budget address:
“We’re thrilled to see Gov. Evers’ budget plan includes proposals to help student loan borrowers and protect voters.
“Student loan debt hurts Wisconsin families and holds back Wisconsin’s economy.
“Gov. Evers’ call for action to help borrowers refinance their student loans is a common sense way to help Wisconsinites who worked hard to get an education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it.
“Gov. Evers’ support for voter rights and his embrace of the idea that making it easier and more convenient for legal voters to vote is good for democracy is a refreshing change of pace after eight years of Republicans rigging the rules to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage.”
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Student loan debt now tops $1.5 trillion nationally and the education debt collectively held by over 44 million individuals is now the second leading consumer debt in the nation. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wisconsin borrowers’ share is well over $24 billion. Research has consistently shown the serious, negative impacts of the debt, including reducing rates of home ownership, new car purchasing and saving for retirement.
A proposal to help borrowers refinance their student loans is popular with the public across partisan and demographic lines, according to public opinion research. An overwhelming 79 percent supported “a plan to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.” A mere 9 percent were opposed. Support was strong across partisan lines with 85 percent of those identifying as Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of independents favoring the proposal.
One Wisconsin Now’s partner organization, One Wisconsin Institute was the lead plaintiff in a 2016 federal voting rights lawsuit that resulted in numerous Republican-imposed restrictions on voting being struck down and a finding that the state was unconstitutionally administering the voter ID law.