After a two month delay, Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2017-19 biennial budget into law Thursday at an elementary school in Neenah.
Walker said in a statement the budget’s priorities fell into three categories — student success, accountable government and rewarding work.
“After listening to families and hardworking taxpayers across our state, we built this budget based on the people’s priorities,” Walker said. “I thank the Legislature for keeping the core of our budget in place which includes historic K-12 education funding, property tax relief, and more funding for broadband and worker training.”
The $76 billion budget narrowly passed the state Senate in a 19-14 vote and was more than 10 weeks overdue due to disagreement in the Legislature about education and transportation funding.
Provisions from the state budget include a tuition freeze for University of Wisconsin System in-state undergraduate students, $636 million increase in state aid for K-12 schools and $5 million for Wisconsin Technical Colleges to help train students for high-demand fields.
State Rep. Patrick Snyder, R-Schofield, praised the budget, especially the investment to K-12 education.
“The budget signed by Governor Walker today strongly invests in the future of our children while holding the line on taxes for our hard-working families,” Snyder said in a statement.
Democrats, including state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, however, have been concerned the budget favors the wealthy.
“As Wisconsin working families continue to pay more for less, the Republican budget further rigs the economy for the wealthy,” Shilling said. “This budget was bad from the start, and with his veto pen Gov. Walker managed to make it worse by cutting more funding from Wisconsin schools while keeping a tax break for 47 millionaires.”
Overdue state biennial budget passes Assembly with total opposition from DemocratsAfter 11 hours of debate, the 2017-19 biennial budget passed the Wisconsin Assembly after two months of debate. The budget vote Read…
Before signing the budget, Walker issued 98 vetoes to various parts of the budget Wednesday.
State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, had concerns regarding Walker’s veto to a portion of the budget that would have increased funding for low-revenue schools.
“I am severely disappointed in Gov. Walker’s decision to reject an opportunity to correct a long-term inequity in our K12 funding system,” Nygren said in a statement. “The veto will continue this funding imbalance and have lasting impacts on the quality of education available to some of our children.”
Despite criticisms of the budget, Walker is “optimistic” about the future of Wisconsin.
“I have never been more optimistic about the future of our state,” Walker said. “We are working and winning for Wisconsin.”