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State Budget Alert: Your Response Needed

By John Forester | May 16, 2019

THIS IS A PRIORITY LEGISLATIVE ALERT

FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) plans to vote on the K-12 education portion of the State Budget on Thursday, May 23rd.

From the very beginning of the 2019-21 State Budget process, we have known that Governor Evers’ budget priorities, including the proposed $1.4 billion increase for K-12 education, would require revenue generated by the proposed Medicaid expansion, the proposed cap on the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit and the proposed limitation on the exclusion for nonfarm capital gains.

However, the first motion adopted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on May 9th removed those three items (and 128 others) from budget consideration leaving an enormous divide between Governor Evers and the GOP on K-12 funding and other budget needs.  Capitol sources have indicated that GOP members of the JFC tentatively plan to support increasing K-12 funding by about $450-$500 million.

SAA members have done an outstanding job up to now in our state budget advocacy efforts with fabulous testimony at the JFC hearings as well as the extensive communications individual members have had with their legislators.

Yes, we have done a great job up till now.  But, if we don’t take this final opportunity to influence JFC members, we risk further erosion of K-12 funding increases.

So, I implore you to act once again on behalf of the children you serve.  Today, I urge every single SAA member to contact the 16 members of the Joint Finance Committee, as well as your own legislators, in support of our top budget priorities.

For your convenience in contacting your own legislators, I have provided links to the Senate Directory, the Assembly Directory and Who Are My Legislators.  Simply encourage these legislators to:

  1. Support at least a $200 per pupil general revenue increase in each year of the biennium. Explain the importance of these increases in both fiscal and human terms.  In particular, emphasize the impact on educational opportunities for the kids you serve.
  1. Support a substantial increase in funding for special education. It is important to explain your district’s fund 10 to fund 27 transfer.  As you know, some legislators have been loudly balking at increasing special education funding and even spreading misinformation about how special education services are funded.  Please use the SAA Special Education Talking Points in your communication.
  1. Support a substantial increase in funding for school-age mental health.
  1. Support for school funding that is “spendable”. In recent state budgets, policymakers have commonly increased school levy credits or increased general aid with no corresponding revenue limit increase.  I call this “school funding in name only”.  It simply flows to taxpayers as property tax relief and school districts cannot spend one dime of it on the educational needs of children.

I’m so proud of your budget advocacy this session.  But, we need to put an exclamation point on it.  I know you are busy, but I need you to make these contacts by day’s end on Wednesday, May 22nd.  Let’s carry the fight just a little bit longer.

Let’s get it done!  Thanks.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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