With the 2017-19 state budget finally headed to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature, political reactions are falling along the usual partisan lines, with majority Republicans saying they’re proud to have passed the two-year spending plan and minority Democrats saying it hurts the working class.
“This budget doesn’t raise sales or income taxes, ends the state property tax, cuts the property tax businesses pay on machinery and tools they already own, and eliminates the sales tax on internet services,” said state Sen. Frank Lasee, whose 1st Senate District includes Kewaunee County. “Removing obsolete and unused taxes without saddling current and future Wisconsinites with endless debt keeps our state on the road of fiscal responsibility for generations to come.”
“This budget brings us a historic investment in education that is welcomed by our state’s educators and schools,” said state Rep. Joel Kitchens, whose 1st Assembly District includes most of Kewaunee County. “As a former school board member, I can recognize the value of this commitment by the legislature to support schools and I can think of no other investment that has a greater return than the children of our state.”
But state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, of the 30th Senate District had a different take: “Senate Republicans continued to pick winners and losers this week forcing Wisconsin taxpayers to pay up to $3 billion in cash payments over the next 15 years to a Chinese corporation (Foxconn) with a less than stellar record when it comes to the way in which it treats its workers and the environment.”
The lawmakers’ complete statements:
State Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay
“I was proud last night to cast my vote alongside my fellow Republican legislators in support of this state budget. This budget is good for our state, and good for the first district.
“This budget contains the largest investment in K-12 education made by the state, providing school districts with $639 million in funding. There will be an increase in per pupil aid by $200 per pupil in the first year and $204 in the second year and the floor of minimum funding levels for low spending districts will be raised.
“This budget brings us a historic investment in education that is welcomed by our state’s educators and schools. As a former school board member, I can recognize the value of this commitment by the legislature to support schools and I can think of no other investment that has a greater return than the children of our state.
“Additionally, there are several provisions in this budget that directly impact our district. I have worked hard this session to push for projects in our region that will have monumental positive impacts for my entire constituency. This budget includes funding for a Total Maximum Daily Load Study of the rivers of Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc Counties. This budget also includes a $750,000 grant to rebuild Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park and a $3.2 million Harbor Assistance Grant to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for the Sturgeon Bay Harbor. Additionally, this budget allows for Door County Medical Center to obtain an additional 18 nursing home beds for their facility. These projects will help protect our district’s natural resources, continue to attract tourists, grow our workforce and take care of our elderly.”
State Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere
“I am proud to have stood with my Republican colleagues in the State Senate and cast a vote in support of this fiscally responsible budget. The 2017-2019 state budget sticks to Legislative Republican’s and Governor Walker’s belief that letting taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money, because it drives the economy and it’s the right thing to do.
This budget doesn’t raise sales or income taxes, ends the state property tax, cuts the property tax businesses pay on machinery and tools they already own, and eliminates the sales tax on internet services. Removing obsolete and unused taxes without saddling current and future Wisconsinites with endless debt keeps our state on the road of fiscal responsibility for generations to come.
This state budget prioritizes K-12 education by adding an additional $639 million over the prior budget. This is an increase of $200 per pupil in the first year of the budget and another $204 increase in the second year. This budget creates an Early College Credit Program to help high school students take college and technical school courses while in high school. This new program will cut down on the cost and time it will take a student to earn a technical school or college degree.”
“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly for provisions in the budget that will benefit my senate district. I am pleased this budget provides:
– Much-needed 18 nursing home beds for the Door County Medical Center.
– Matching grant to assist in the rebuilding of Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park.
– $3.2 million job creating grant for dock construction and dredging projects in the Sturgeon Bay Harbor.
– Funding for a study of how much farm and other nutrients can go in the rivers in Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Door, Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties and what their impact is.
All of these provisions will improve the quality of life in the first Senate District.” Lasee said.
State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay
“ Senate Republicans continued to pick winners and losers this week forcing Wisconsin taxpayers to pay up to $3 billion in cash payments over the next 15 years to a Chinese corporation with a less than stellar record when it comes to the way in which it treats its workers and the environment.
“Nowhere was this better reflected than in the state budget where they spent a record $76 billion but failed to adequately address any of the serious issues facing working families and the middle class.
“While 47 millionaires get yet another tax cut, Governor Walker and the Republicans failed to fully fund our public schools and continue to give even more taxpayer money to unaccountable private schools.
“Despite Wisconsin having some of the worst roads and highways of any state in the nation, the Governor and Republicans decided yet again to kick the can down the road meaning drivers will face longer delays and drive on increasingly worse roads.
“The nearly 1 million Wisconsin residents struggling to pay their student loans will have to wait even longer for relief as Republicans continue to oppose a low-cost plan to help them refinance their student loans at lower interest rates.
“After voting for the largest taxpayer giveaway to a foreign corporation in our nation’s history, today’s action by Senate Republicans clearly shows whose side they are on. And it’s not the side of working families or the middle class.”