CONTACT: State Rep. Don Vruwink
State Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) cast a “no” vote on the state budget bill, saying it falls short on funding for schools, road repairs, and health care. Vruwink released the following statement:
“Gov. Tony Evers introduced a budget bill that would have kept the state’s decades-old commitment to fund two-thirds of school costs, but the current version of the budget does not do that. If we keep the two-thirds commitment, school districts will not have to go to taxpayers year after year to ask for an increase in the property tax.
“Gov. Evers proposed a modest increase in the gas tax that would have helped us fix our crumbling roads, but the current budget does not include that funding source. The three pillars of our state’s economy – manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism – depend on safe and efficient transportation. An eight-cents per gallon bump in the gas tax would ensure that out-of-state drivers share the cost of decent roads.
“Gov. Evers’ budget would have accepted $1.6 billion in federal funds to allow dentists, nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care providers to serve more people in need. Opponents of accepting the federal funding said Medicaid ‘traps people in poverty.’ Tell that to the six-year-old whose tooth decay causes him to miss school. Tell that to the 96-year-old whose nursing home is closing.
“Gov. Evers’ budget would have closed a loophole in state tax law that allows big-box chain stores to unfairly reduce their property taxes. When the big box stores operating profitable businesses do not pay their fair share, small businesses and homeowners pay more to make up for the shortfall.
“The state budget presents a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of life for Wisconsinites in all 72 counties. The budget before the Legislature, as adopted by the Joint Finance Committee, is a missed opportunity.”