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Historic Budget makes the tough choices to protect taxpayers and the next generation

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today signed into law the 2011-13 budget which balances a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes and continues to support critical services, while promoting job growth and investing in education.

“Our balanced budget makes tough choices while providing a path to recovery and prosperity for our state and our people,” Governor Walker said.  “Through honest budgeting, we are providing an alternative to the reckless tricks and gimmicks of the past.”

The Governor’s budget, without raising taxes, eliminates a $3.6 billion deficit and builds a platform for better budgets in the future.  In doing so, it eliminates a deficit of nearly $650 for every man, woman and child in Wisconsin.  Only seven states in the nation faced larger per capita deficits than Wisconsin.

“Just as any parent would dread leaving their kids in debt, it is the dream of every mother and father to leave their children a little better off, and that’s what our budget will do,” said Governor Walker.

The Governor’s budget protects taxpayers by implementing a true property tax freeze and promoting job growth.  The property tax freeze will save the average homeowner over $700 dollars over the next two years. 

The Governor said, “it’s my hope that due to this budget, thousands of Wisconsinites can breathe just a little bit easier and not worry about how they’re going to stay in the home they love.”

The budget also includes a manufacturing tax credit and capital gains tax credit aimed at creating jobs in Wisconsin.

The Governor’s budget is balanced without raising taxes while still maintaining important government services.  The budget continues support for BadgerCare, Medical Assistance, and SeniorCare.  It puts an additional $1.2 billion into the state’s Medicaid program.  Nearly all new revenue the state receives over the next two years will go to the Department of Health Services.  The budget fully funds the Well Woman Program which provided nearly 9,000 potentially life-saving screenings last year.  It also builds on the transitional jobs program.   The program helped provide jobs for 1930 people last year; in the Governor’s budget it will serve an additional 4300 Wisconsinites.  And under the Governor’s budget more Wisconsin families will benefit from one of the nation’s most generous EITC programs than ever before.

The balanced budget also keeps public education as a top priority.  Public K-12 schools are the single largest expenditure in the budget.  The state will also begin a new statewide student information system which will allow for real-time state-wide data collection from schools on everything from course grades to attendance.  The data system will allow for better tracking of students and better accountability metrics for teachers, administrators, and schools.  The Governor’s budget also expands Choice and Charter schools.

“My two sons go to public schools, so I know first-hand how important our schools and our teachers are to shaping the next generation of Wisconsin leaders,” the Governor said.

In his budget remarks, the Governor also said that now is the time for Wisconsin to move forward together and continue to address the state’s challenges.

“We may disagree on the issue of the day, but we always find a way to unite and reach out when it means helping our neighbors in need; or leaving our children a better state than we inherited,” said Governor Scott Walker.  “The recent debates in Madison found us spending too much time focused on our differences, rather than our similarities.  But today we turn the page.”