“Last night my colleagues and I voted on an $87 billion budget, the largest state budget in Wisconsin history. Unfortunately, as is so often true, Northern Wisconsin once again did not get its fair share in this budget. Because of this, I voted against this budget.
“Huge disparities remain when it comes to taxpayer spending in Wisconsin. Residents of the 73rd Assembly District and throughout Northern Wisconsin continue to pay a disproportionate amount of taxes relative to the services they receive. While other regions of the state receive funding for various projects and programs, Northern Wisconsin continues to be overlooked.
“The budget that passed last night falls short in so many ways, but I was especially disappointed that funding for two important initiatives were removed from the budget. The creation of the Better City Superior exposition district was an initiative that has had bi-partisan support in the legislature and widespread support of residents of Superior. Although the exposition district would have generated increased tourism and economic development in the Superior region at no cost to others, this provision was sadly rejected from our budget.
“In addition, funding that the governor provided for UW-Superior’s Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) would have allowed the LSRI to create a partnership program with northern Wisconsin communities. Through this program, students and staff would have had countless opportunities to collaborate directly with local, county, state, and tribal entities to develop and address environmental priorities. Sadly, this provision was also removed from the governor’s budget proposal and was not included in the budget that was passed.
“Education once again took a hit in this budget. Our schools are the heart and soul of rural Wisconsin and define who we are as communities. This budget – which provides just 10 percent of the education funding Governor Evers included in his budget proposal – underfunds our school districts and shortchanges our kids, our communities, and our economy. My Republican colleagues have been undercutting K-12 education for years. By not meeting our 2/3rds funding commitment, the cost of education will be passed on through higher property taxes, expensive referendums, or a decrease in the quality of education. This is unacceptable.
“Rather than provide Northern Wisconsin with the resources necessary to support its students, environment, economic development, and other priorities, Wisconsinites in this region in the state were once again overlooked. This budget failed to make critical investments for the people of Northern Wisconsin, and for this reason, I could not support it.”
Watch Rep. Milroy’s floor speech on the budget at this link.