Madison, Wis. — This week, the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget office announced that due to Republicans’ failure to increase education spending, Wisconsin is at risk of losing $2.3 billion in federal pandemic relief funding – $800 million more than initially anticipated. If Republicans continue to put politics over people by refusing to invest in our students, all 421 Wisconsin school districts are at risk of losing critical funds from the American Rescue Plan.
This asinine move from Republicans comes as a report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows an “unprecedented increase” of $4.4 billion in the state’s revenue – meaning the legislature can make a historic investment in the state’s rainy day fund and still invest in K-12 education, job creation, and other aspects of the governor’s Badger Bounceback agenda.
Under Gov. Evers’ budget proposal, the state’s education funding would rise by $1.6 billion, which would fully secure the federal aid. In partnership with the Biden administration, Democrats will further support Wisconsin education by passing the American Families Plan — which will increase Pell Grants for 88,500 students in Wisconsin, provide universal pre-school, and invest in teachers.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Nellie Sires released the following statement:
“Every second Republicans waste on their political posturing, money for our students and teachers flies out the window. By refusing to fully fund our schools, Republican lawmakers are failing families across the state and depriving communities of much-needed pandemic relief.
“It has become clear that while Democrats work for the people of Wisconsin, leading us out of this pandemic and providing relief to protect families and small businesses, Republicans continue to work for no one but themselves. Their latest failure to secure federal funding for Wisconsin schools can be added to a laundry list of proposals designed to better the state that they have denied Wisconsin families — including the expansion of Medicaid, legalizing marijuana, raising the minimum wage, and getting rid of tax loopholes for the wealthy. Our Democratic leaders will continue to fight for Wisconsinites as Republicans continue to fight for… no one.”
Wisconsin Republicans leading the joint finance committee are making a habit of putting federal funding at risk. Here are all the things Wisconsinites have lost out on due to Republicans’ negligence, in addition to the $2.3 billion currently at risk:
- $1.6 billion from the federal government in exchange for expanding BadgerCare that the governor planned to put toward desperately needed economic development projects
- $167 million in estimated tax revenue from legalizing marijuana, that could go towards funding expenses like rural schools
- $838 million for state government by getting rid of tax loopholes for the wealthy
For anyone counting – the GOP has already cost Wisconsin an estimated 2.7 billion in revenue.