Gov. Tony Evers today signed the 2021-23 biennial budget, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 58, providing one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin state history and delivering on his 2018 campaign promise to cut tax taxes for middle-class families by 10 percent. Gov. Evers, former public school teacher and state superintendent of public instruction, also announced more than $100 million in new funding for public schools on top of investments included in the biennial budget.
“In many ways, this budget presents a false choice between the priorities the people this state care about and deserve,” said Gov. Evers. “But after a long eight years of politicians making decisions for all the wrong reasons, I ran to be the governor of this state and promised I would always put people before politics—that I would always try to do the right thing, that I would work to find common ground, and that I would make decisions based on what’s best for our kids and our state.
“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,” Gov. Evers continued. “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.”
The tax relief comes after the last biennium, where the governor signed the 2019-21 biennial budget which, together with 2019 Wisconsin Act 10, provided an estimated $577 million in individual income tax relief through income tax rate reductions targeting lower- and middle-income earners. Earlier this year, the first bill the governor signed this biennium, 2021 Wisconsin Act 1, provided $480 million in tax relief for Wisconsin businesses and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to today, Gov. Evers had signed into law $2 billion in cumulative tax relief for Wisconsin families and businesses.
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.
The 2021-23 biennial budget provides roughly $685 million in additional net general and categorical school aids and hits the mark for two-thirds funding in the next biennium for the first time in two decades. In addition to the investments made through the biennial budget, Gov. Evers today announced more than $100 million in federal funds for kids and schools across the state.
The additional 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.”
A copy of the governor’s full veto message is available here.