high for public education in ….
high for public education in his initial budget and general aid increases will help many of our schools and property taxpayers. Unfortunately, we could and should have done more. GOP budget choices included taking $500 million from the Governor’s special education proposal to preserve a tax giveaway targeted primarily at millionaires. Those dollars would certainly help educators and families meet the needs of students often suffering the most curing the COVID crisis.
A pandemic that has seen the wealthy grow wealthier while the challenges for working parents have grown – much – more difficult has made our choices and priorities even more starkly clear.
As parents, students and educators face up to the extraordinary challenges of this pandemic it will be our job to rise to the challenge of continuing to support them. I will continue to support public schools that have been the cornerstones of our communities for generations. The impact of this pandemic on classrooms and homes is tremendous, and it will be our responsibility to protect the future of public education for 800,000+ students and their families in the budgets and legislation ahead.
Because of choices our colleagues in the majority caucuses made, our next budget starts out maintaining that tax giveaway for the millionaires instead of the additional $500 million that could have relieved costs local districts and their taxpayers are already required to pay for special education.
Our Republican colleagues made unfortunate choices when they decided to fall for the FoxConn plan in just over a month in 2017. They made another unfortunate choice when they scurried back to Madison to pass lame duck legislation designed in part to protect the FoxConn handout in just 2 days.
We recently learned how little the people have gotten for the $165 million this has already cost state taxpayers and the billions more the GOP set aside for FoxConn in budgets ahead. Buildings as empty as the promises scrawled on a single sheet of paper three years ago. Homes lost, local debt the state may have to step in for, and fewer jobs than the hundreds and thousands of small businesses across our state have fought to maintain without a fraction of the help FoxConn demanded – and even worse – got.
It is time for responsible decisions and responsible leadership. It is time to come back to Madison to answer the call from educators with an unparalleled dedication to our state instead of back rooms on the other side of the Pacific. The students, families, educators, and the businesses, Wisconsinites facing unemployment through no fault of their own and especially our health care heroes on the front lines deserve our every effort – not zero days of action in six months from legislative leaders who could not leap high or fast enough when FoxConn came calling.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach West Point 27th District