MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – The Wisconsin Assembly passed the state spending plan for the next two years along party lines, 63-34, on Thursday.
The $99 billion budget includes income tax cuts of over $3.4 billion and increased funding for private school vouchers, public schools, state employees and correctional officers.
The budget does not include hundreds of proposed items by Gov. Tony Evers, continued funding for federal programs for school safety and child care that have expired, and cuts diversity initiatives from the UW System budget.
Republicans who control both houses of the state legislature, including the committee that writes the budget, lauded the budget for funding education and maintaining state programs while also returning money to taxpayers. Democrats said the budget missed opportunities to use the state’s $7 billion surplus to further increase education spending and to fund the Office of School Safety and Child Care Counts, federal programs that are set to expire. Democrats also criticized the tax cuts as primarily benefitting wealthier residents.
Evers proposed funding that expanded Medicaid, increased support for mental health care and backed programs for dealing with PFAS contamination in several municipalities around the state. He has said he would consider vetoing the entire budget if the UW System budget was cut.
Democrats proposed 13 amendments to the budget bill in a last-ditch effort to fund some of the governor’s proposals, but all failed along party lines.
The Senate already passed the budget bill 20-13, so now the bill heads to Gov. Evers, who can sign the budget, veto it, or use his line-item veto powers to partially veto certain provisions of the budget. It is expected he will take action on the bill soon, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.