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Madison, WI – Representative Rob Swearingen (R – Rhinelander) released the following statement after the Assembly approved the 2019-2021 biennial state budget, which makes the largest total investment in K-12 education in actual dollars, funds healthcare needs without expanding welfare, repairs our roads and bridges, includes substantial funding for broadband expansion and provides a significant tax cut.
“The budget the Assembly passed today not only reduces income tax burden, it keeps spending in line with taxpayers’ ability to pay,” said Rep. Swearingen. “In contrast, the budget proposed by Governor Evers would have turned our surplus into a nearly $2 billion deficit while increasing taxes and fees by over $1 billion.”
Representative Swearingen highlighted that this budget is balanced and fiscally responsible because it not only cuts income taxes by more than $500 million, but also rejected Governor Evers plan to increase government spending by $6 billion in addition to an unnecessary expansion of state bureaucracy.
“I am very encouraged that we voted to once again prioritize K-12 education and level the playing field to help fund rural schools. Building off previous budgets, Republicans voted to increase state aid to school districts by $500 million. This package provides an additional $200 in per-pupil funding in FY20 and $204 in FY21 that will be guaranteed to every student throughout the state. It is clear Republicans continue to show a commitment to addressing the funding inequalities rural schools face,” said Rep.Swearingen.
In addition to the largest total investment in K-12 education, Rep. Swearingen co-authored a budget motion to allocate $250,000 over the biennium to Lakeland STAR School/Academy, a school for students with autism.
“I am proud to support a vital school in the Northwoods that provides students with autism the opportunity to learn necessary life traits of self-confidence and determination to live
independently. The school also plays an important role in helping these students find gainful employment post-graduation,” stated Rep. Swearingen.
Furthermore, the budget that passed the Assembly improves healthcare by increasing caregiver wages and reimbursement levels for nursing homes to protect our aging population. The budget also invests an additional $44 million in the successful Broadband Expansion Grant Program. Finally, the budget invests in our transportation infrastructure including a sizable increase to local road aids without raising the gas tax.
The budget bill passed the Assembly on a 60-39 vote. The bill now awaits action by the state senate before heading to the governor’s desk.
Representative Swearingen represents the 34th Assembly District, which includes the Northwoods counties of Oneida, Vilas, Florence and portions of Forest.