State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) praised Governor Tony Evers following his budget address and the unveiling of his 2021-23 biennial budget proposal. “The governor’s budget brings hope to Wisconsinites as we begin our recovery process from the pandemic,” said Milroy. “While his budget is filled with items to help people statewide, I’m quite pleased that he included language to directly benefit the people of northwestern Wisconsin.”
“Provisions in the governor’s budget include the Better City Superior Exposition District initiative and funding for the Lake Superior Research Institute,” continued Milroy. “In addition, the governor has included historic investments in broadband and language to provide local governments and residents with increased local control over sales tax increases.”
“At the onset of discussions about an exposition district in the City of Superior, the residents of Superior overwhelmingly supported the initiative in a referendum and have been advocating for it for many years now,” added Milroy. “Allowing Superior to establish an exposition district would greatly boost local tourism and economic development, which would provide so many benefits to Superior and surrounding communities.”The exposition district would be allowed to collect its own taxes on tourism-related spending, the money from which is then used to fund projects that would generate tourism and economic development in the Superior community.
The Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) conducts environmental research and provides services that directly benefit people throughout Northwestern Wisconsin and beyond. For the last 50 years, LSRI has completed over 700 projects that have contributed greatly to the environmental health of the region while developing relationships with over 500 organizations in the process. LSRI has employed approximately 600 undergraduate students and provided many others with non-traditional learning and applied research opportunities. “It is great to see the LSRI receive funding for the important services the institute provides to our students and communities. The work of the LSRI is a great asset to our region of the state and helps enhance both our environment and the academic experience of so many students,” Milroy added.
The governor’s investments in broadband would make millions more in funding available for expanding broadband access in unserved and underserved communities. “Broadband access is a persistent issue for residents of Northwestern Wisconsin. Throughout this pandemic, I have heard far too many stories about families not having access to internet services at a time when many aspects of our lives must be conducted virtually from home,” Milroy said. “I am looking forward to seeing the ways in which the governor’s investments in broadband allow more people throughout Northwestern Wisconsin to connect to reliable, high-speed internet.”
Governor Evers’ sales tax proposal would allow counties to increase sales taxes by an additional 0.5 percent, if supported and approved by a local referendum. This would be in addition to the 0.5 percent increase that is already allowed under current state law. “I believe it’s appropriate to allow local governments the option of deciding whether to increase local sales taxes to fund critical resources in their area,” Milroy went on to say.
Milroy pointed out that there are many other provisions in the governor’s budget proposal that will be imperative in Wisconsin’s recovery from the pandemic. “Standing out are economic development initiatives such as a $200 million fund to help small businesses and investment of funding for workforce development. Education, veterans, seniors, farmers, the environment, and health care continue to be of great importance to the governor as illustrated by his budget proposal,” concluded Milroy. “I look forward to working with the members of the Joint Finance Committee in the coming months towards a budget that we can mutually agree on.”