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Legislative Update

WASB resolutions adopted by the 2023 Delegate Assembly posted

The resolutions adopted by the 2023 WASB Delegate Assembly on Jan 18 have been posted on the WASB website. You can access that document HERE.

Resolutions adopted by the annual Delegate Assemblies set the policy direction for the WASB and its lobbying efforts. Once adopted, these resolutions remain in force unless amended or repealed.

More information can be found on the Delegate Assembly website.

LFB: State’s budget surplus grows to $7.1 billion

One day after Gov. Evers in his State of the State Address proposed over $1 billion in new spending, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a memo showing the state will end the current fiscal year with a projected $7.1 billion surplus, $524 million more than previous estimates. The LFB cited several factors that contributed to the $524 million difference, the most significant of which is the $775 million projected Medicaid (Medical Assistance) fund surplus due in large part to the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second factor is a $202 million appropriation set aside by the Legislature to fund the repeal of the personal property tax. That money was never used because the proposal wasn’t signed into law.  Another factor is a $60.7 million increase in projected tax collections compared to the same earlier estimates. read more…

Governor Evers’ State of the State speech highlights funding for mental health initiatives, schools

In his fifth State of the State address as governor, Gov. Tony Evers outlined proposals to spend nearly $1.3 billion on mental health initiatives, addressing PFAS and bolstering the state’s workforce, among other things. Evers also called for a big boost in state aid to local governments and schools. In his speech, Evers noted the record state budget surplus as well as the record balance in the state’s Budget Stabilization (a/k/a “Rainy Day”) Fund.

Previewing the two-year state budget proposal he will unveil on Feb.15, Evers used his annual State of the State address to tout a proposal to make the “Get Kids Ahead” a permanent state program by investing more than $270 million to ensure every student has access to mental health services.

Details of Evers’ plan were released along with the speech and call for providing:

read more…

Legislative Update session materials from Convention available

Thank you to all who attended the 2023 Education Convention in Milwaukee. Thank you to those who attended our Legislative Update session Friday morning. At this session we provided an overview of the dynamics in play for the 2023-24 Legislative Session and 2023-25 state budget timeline.

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available here.

We also handed out a few copies of our Legislative Advocacy Toolkit, which is also available online here.

New LFB memo includes estimates of inflationary increases for schools

A new memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) shows what revenue limit adjustments would have been if automatic inflationary increases (tied to CPI indexing) that were a feature of Wisconsin school funding from 1995-96 through 2008-09 were still in place and compares those to the actual increases provided by the state.

If you attended a WASB Regional Meeting or Advocacy Workshop, we showed you a chart illustrating the differences.

The new LFB memo also includes estimates of what inflationary increases per pupil would be for 2023-24 and 2024-25, the fiscal/school years covered by the upcoming 2023-25 state budget:

According to the memo, “Based on the January, 2023, projections of quarterly inflation by S&P Global, it is estimated that the per pupil adjustments would be $392.79 in 2023-24 and $403.00 in 2024-25.”

See the full memo.


Gov. Evers announces more budget listening sessions

From the Governor’s office release: “Gov. Tony Evers today announced upcoming locations and dates to continue his statewide ‘Doing the Right Thing’ listening session tour, including another virtual listening session, as well as visits to Wausau, Superior, and Eau Claire. 

“All participants should register to attend at the links below. Wisconsinites are also welcome to submit written comments on any topic at any time before or after the listening sessions here.” read more…

WPF: State and local tax burden lowest on record

From the Wisconsin Policy Forum: “Driven down by a $1 billion income tax cut and tight limits on property taxes, Wisconsin’s state and local tax burden fell in 2022 to its lowest level on record. Local taxes as a share of income have never been lower in more than a half century of data, and state and federal taxes on families and businesses are also near historic lows.”

In fiscal year 2022, state and local tax revenues fell to just under 10.1% of personal income in the state, down from 10.3% in 2021. That was the lowest level since the Wisconsin Policy Forum and its predecessor the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance began tracking the state-local tax burden in 1970.

One of the more eye-opening findings of the report was that state tax revenues have grown by 56.9% since 2010. Local tax collections, on the other hand, have grown by only 23.7% over that same period, or less than half as much as state revenues.  This is illustrated in Figure 7 of the report. 

See the full report.

Assembly Dems name education committee members

Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) has announced Assembly Democrat committee appointments for the 2023-24 legislative session.

For the Assembly Committee on Education, Rep. Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay, pictured) is the new ranking member, replacing longtime Rep. Sondy Pope who did not run for reelection. Rep. Shelton is a former Green Bay Area school board member and teacher. With Rep. Joel Kitchens replacing retiring Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt as chair, there are new members in leadership on the committee for both parties for the first time in many years.

Reps. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo), LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee), Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay), and Francesca Hong (D-Madison) were also appointed as members of the committee.

For the GOP members of the committee, see previous post.

Top research findings for 2022 includes state’s fall in school spending to below national avg

The Wisconsin Policy Forum recently highlighted their top five research findings for 2022. These were chosen using the “criteria that the finding contains newly uncovered information and that it is relevant to upcoming policy debates at the state or local level”. Included in their top five:

“Wisconsin falls to middle of the pack in school spending. In July, we took one of our periodic looks at Wisconsin’s school spending compared to other states and found a continuation of the decline in the state’s ranking that we had observed in recent years (Wisconsin’s Ranks in School Spending, Tax Burden Fall Together). Per 2020 Census Bureau data, Wisconsin’s spending of $12,740 per student on public elementary and secondary education was 25th in the nation and 5.6% below the national average. In 2002 – the earliest year for which comparable data are available – Wisconsin ranked 11th. Not surprisingly, given that state and local taxes are the primary funding source for K-12 education, the decline in Wisconsin’s school spending rank was consistent with its declining tax burden (measured by the ratio of state and local taxes to personal income), which fell from fifth in the U.S. in 2002 to 23rd in 2019.”

We had previously blogged about the study here.

Senate Dems announce committee assignments

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison) announced committee appointments for members of the Senate Democratic Caucus for the 2023-24 Legislative Session.

For the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee, pictured) returns as ranking member. Sens. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) were also appointed as members of the committee.

For the GOP members of the committee, see previous post.

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