WISCREPORT.COM (10/25/07) - The new Wisconsin budget set to be signed by Governor Jim Doyle tomorrow (Friday) includes economic development monies for municipalities that experienced devaluation in manufacturing properties in Portage, Wood and Adams counties. The funds will help Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids, as well as Plover, Auburndale, Amherst Junction, Biron, Friendship, Whiting, Port Edwards, Vesper, and the Town of Remington. There is also money in the State Budget to refurbish the Korean War Memorial along I-39 at Plover.
“After months of negotiating the state finally has a budget,” said State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). “It has been an extremely frustrating process that has seen political games and posturing delay the budget for months."
"While this budget is not perfect it does preserve Wisconsin’s core values of affordable access to quality health care, investments in education and economic development while giving individuals and families much needed tax relief,” Lassa says.
The budget contains $375,000 in economic development monies for municipalities that experienced devaluation in manufacturing properties in Portage, Wood and Adams counties.
“This money will help to ensure that property taxpayers don’t have to pick up the burden of taxes that are being shifted off of aging manufacturing facilities,” said Lassa.
Lassa also secured $165,000 to help refurbish the Korean War Memorial in Plover, which honors the 132,000 Wisconsin soldiers that served in the Korean War. The foundation on the Memorial is eroding and needs to be replaced.
“This funding will help to ensure that Wisconsin maintains its commitment to our veterans and their memory,” said Lassa.
Lassa’s Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin proposal is also in budget The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program will strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural economy and improve consumer access to fresh, nutritious Wisconsin grown food. The proposal provides grants to farmer and community based initiatives to reduce marketing, processing and distribution hurdles in order to develop regional food markets for Wisconsin grown food products.
The budget includes tax cuts so families can deduct a portion of their health insurance premiums, child care costs and college tuition and ends the tax on pension benefits.
“This is real, meaningful relief for middle class families,” said Lassa.
The budget also holds property tax increases to less than the rate of inflation for the average home.
The budget invests in education and expands the tuition tax deduction to $6,000. This is the first time in history that families can deduct books and fees as well as tuition.
“The budget invests in our economy through the University Growth Agenda which will help to expand enrollment and educate the next generation of nurses, engineers, chemists, biologists and skilled workers that our economy needs,” said Lassa.
“We also kept the promise we made to all Wisconsin veterans to provide them with free college tuition,” Senator Lassa pointed out.
Senate Democrats have also made sure that the budget creates jobs and opportunities for Wisconsin families by increasing funding for job training programs so workers can get ahead.
Lassa said: “It is shameful that 55,000 children in our state are not covered by health insurance." This budget solves that problem through BadgerCare Plus which will offer every Wisconsin family the opportunity to buy affordable health care coverage for their child, starting at about $10 a month so no family would lose coverage just because their income goes up.
The budget also contains $31 million in funding to municipalities to keep projects such as Highway 10 between Marshfield and Stevens Point on schedule.
The compromise budget has been approved by the Legislature and now goes to Governor Jim Doyle for signing.