Gov. Tony Evers. Photo courtesy the governor's office.

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed the 2021-’23 biennial budget that was significantly re-written from his original plan by the Republican led Wisconsin Legislature.

The budget provides one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history and Evers said it delivers on his 2018 campaign promise to cut tax taxes for middle-class families by 10 percent.

The property tax cut will amount to about $100 next year for the owner of an average home, according to the Associated Press.

(A copy of the governor’s full veto message is available HERE.)

Although Republicans effectively eliminated any increase in K-12 schools funding, Evers announced that schools will be receiving $100 million more in federal funds to use as they wish.

“I made a promise when I ran for governor—I promised I would cut taxes for middle-class families by 10 percent. Today, I am keeping my word,” Evers said. “This morning, I’m providing more than $2 billion in tax relief and cutting taxes for middle-class families at a time when our economy and families need it most.”

This budget alone provides $2 billion in individual income tax relief over the biennium and approximately $1 billion annually going forward and newly provides tax relief to more than 1.6 million Wisconsin taxpayers as the state’s economy and families continue to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. When combined with prior reductions, 2.4 million filers will be receiving tax relief, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The additional school funding announced today is made possible through the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act through the administration’s careful management of pandemic-related resources and actions to shift pandemic-related costs to funds provided under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Costs for schools are eligible under the Coronavirus Relief Fund, with states being able to provide a per-pupil distribution to schools in recognition of the increased costs and challenges they faced throughout the past year and a half. Districts across the state will be able to use the funds for non-pandemic-related expenses.

“I’ve always said what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state, so this budget began and ends where it always does for me—with education,” said Gov. Evers. “Other people playing politics hasn’t stopped me from doing what’s best for our kids before, and it’s not going to stop me today. Schools in districts across our state will be able to use these funds to support kids in the classroom, hire educators and staff, provide additional educational or mental health supports, buy art supplies, or computers, keep the lights on—whatever they need.”

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.