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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 19, 2013

CONTACT: Representative Smith 608-266-2519

BIENNIAL BUDGET PASSES LEGISLATURE
SMITH VOTES AGAINST BUDGET THAT RAISES PROPERTY TAXES, EXPANDS CHOICE SCHOOLS, REJECTS MEDICAID EXPANSION AND PROVIDES NO RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

MADISON – State Representative Stephen Smith (D – Shell Lake) voted against the 2013-15 biennial budget which passed the State Assembly today by a vote of 55-42. This controversial budget, introduced by Governor Scott Walker in February will raise a homeowner’s property taxes by $29 this year. It will also create a half-billion-dollar shortfall in the fiscal year 2015-2017. Tax cuts for the most wealthy will turn the state's surplus into a potential deficit. Another contentious part of the budget is the expansion of the taxpayer-funded private school voucher program state-wide. This budget will increases taxpayer funding for private voucher schools by over 29% while public schools will see an increase of just over 1%. “This budget does nothing to help the struggling families of Northwestern Wisconsin. The people of the 75th District elected me to hold the line on property taxes and make sure their children have adequate school funding; this budget just doesn’t do that. It raises taxes, it will create a budget hole in two years, and it sends taxpayer dollars to private and unaccountable schools,” said Smith. The biennial budget also rejects comprehensive Medicaid expansion, costing the state $120 Million in the next two years and insuring 85,000 fewer people. This could result in 29,000 children being dropped from BadgerCare. The budget will also end up costing nearly $100 million more over the next two years than fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, essentially, implementing a health care plan that will charge taxpayers more to cover fewer people. Latest figures rank Wisconsin 44th in the nation in job growth, 45th in wage growth and 50th in short-term job growth. “This budget is bad for ma and pa Wisconsin. It panders to special interests and does nothing help our folks in small communities to keep their businesses open during tough economic times. We are sent to Madison to represent the people of this great state, and instead the majority party believed in representing special interests groups and lobbyists. The legislature should be focused on job creation and working together, and it is apparent that they have other priorities,” stated Rep. Smith. The budget now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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