Browsing: Budget Analysis

It’s telling that Gov. Evers, Sen. Larson and the rest keep using words like “the wealthy” and “rich” to talk about their targets. The Wisconsin income tax is levied not on wealth that people have saved but on income — what they earn. If you say “rich,” with its implications of inheritance or luck, you don’t have to grapple with how taxes take what someone is working for.

Pushing back on a Gov. Tony Evers veto protecting the University of Wisconsin System’s extensive diversity, equity and inclusion infrastructure, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is asking for legislative committee approval to again remove $32 million from the system’s budget unless it dismantles its DEI programs.

Governor Evers signed a budget passed by the Legislature that includes a more than 30% starting pay raise for assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders and more flexibility for merit-based pay raises for attorneys currently in those roles. This makes the compensation for these roles more competitive and should reduce the high rates of turnover currently existing in District Attorney and public defender offices. 

Wisconsin’s top marginal income tax rate—the rate that matters most to the state’s economic competitiveness—remains among the highest in the country. Moving to a flat tax would substantially improve Wisconsin’s tax competitiveness. Separately, repealing the personal property tax would reduce compliance burdens for taxpayers and administrative burdens for the state. As policymakers work on the next biennial budget, each of these policy changes deserves thoughtful consideration.

As the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee begins budget deliberations, Gov. Tony Evers is pushing for a $31.6 billion budget for Medicaid over the next two years, a $4.2 billion biennial increase. The $27.4 billion being spent on Medicaid in the current two-year cycle already represents nearly 30% of all state spending.

Tucked away in Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed budget is nearly $3 million for a new cabinet-level chief equity officer and 18 new equity officers assigned throughout state government departments and agencies. The governor’s request comes at a time when diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs are under fire in higher education, business and in government for fundamental unfairness and divisiveness and a failure to achieve their intended goals.