Governor Evers Greenlights 2023-25 Budget, Making Waves with Historic Investments in Communities, Statewide Affordable Housing, and PFAS Cleanup

Governor Evers Greenlights 2023-25 Budget, Making Waves with Historic Investments in Communities, Statewide Affordable Housing, and PFAS Cleanup

In a groundbreaking stride towards bolstering the vitality of local communities, this budget proposes an impressive $275 million infusion of state aid, cultivating the growth and well-being of municipalities and counties across Wisconsin. At the core of this transformative financial plan lies the implementation of the supplemental county and municipal aid program, established under the visionary 2023 Wisconsin Act 12.

The passage of Act 12 stands as a remarkable testament to bipartisan cooperation, with lawmakers recognizing the urgent necessity for augmenting shared revenue and fortifying local emergency services. By directing substantial resources towards these pressing needs, Wisconsin’s leaders have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to empowering communities and ensuring their sustained development.

With this visionary investment, localities throughout the state will witness a remarkable surge in support. Counties will experience a significant $68 million increase in aid, while municipalities will witness an extraordinary $207 million boost in the fiscal year 2024-2025. These figures represent an unprecedented 36 percent surge in county and municipal aid entitlements, reflecting the government’s steadfast dedication to propelling local growth and prosperity.

By significantly expanding financial resources, this budgetary allocation aims to address critical gaps in local funding, enabling counties and municipalities to address pressing challenges head-on. Local emergency services will receive much-needed support, equipping them with the resources necessary to respond swiftly and effectively to crises, safeguarding the welfare of residents.

Moreover, the augmented state aid program will foster a collaborative and symbiotic relationship between state and local authorities, enabling them to join forces in pursuit of shared goals. Communities will be empowered to enhance public infrastructure, develop robust educational initiatives, and bolster essential services such as healthcare, transportation, and public safety.

In this generational leap forward, Wisconsin embraces a new era of prosperity, where communities thrive and residents flourish. By placing the needs of localities at the forefront, this historic investment represents a resounding commitment to equitable growth and shared success across the state. The transformative effects of this budgetary boost will reverberate for years to come, creating a solid foundation upon which Wisconsin’s communities can continue to build a brighter and more prosperous future.

This budget also encompasses the following key provisions:

Special Education Funding: To address the needs of special education students, the budget allocates $97 million GPR (General Purpose Revenue) over the biennium to achieve a special education reimbursement rate of 33.3 percent each year, the highest rate in over 20 years. Additionally, $4.6 million GPR over the biennium is invested in high-cost special education aid, increasing the reimbursement rate from 39.5 percent to 50 percent by the end of the biennium. This aid helps school districts cover a portion of the costs associated with educating students with specific and elevated educational needs.

Improving Reading and Literacy: Recognizing the importance of strong reading and literacy skills, the budget sets aside $50 million to enhance reading and literacy outcomes for K-12 students. This funding will support initiatives and programs aimed at improving reading proficiency among students, enabling them to succeed academically.

School-Based Mental Health Services: Continuing the support for school-based mental health services, the budget allocates $30 million. This funding builds upon the success of the governor’s “Get Kids Ahead” Initiative and aims to provide students with accessible mental health support within the school setting. By addressing mental health needs early on, this investment contributes to the overall well-being and academic success of students.

Expanding Access to Affordable Housing: Recognizing the significance of affordable housing in addressing workforce challenges, Governor Evers has been a proponent of expanding access to housing statewide. The 2023-25 biennial budget reflects this commitment by providing one of the largest state investments in workforce housing, totaling $525 million. The budget includes several initiatives, such as:

  • $50 million in one-time funds to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for a housing rehabilitation program. These funds can be utilized to offer grants or forgivable loans to low- to moderate-income households, enabling them to renovate or repair their current homes and address issues like lead and mold.
  • $275 million in one-time funds for the Residential Housing Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund at WHEDA. This fund will provide low-interest loans to support the creation of new affordable and senior housing.
  • $100 million in one-time dollars for the Main Street Housing Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Fund at WHEDA. This fund will offer low-interest loans to improve rental workforce housing located on the second or third floor of existing buildings.
  • $100 million in one-time funding for the Commercial-to-Housing Conversion Revolving Loan Fund at WHEDA. This fund aims to facilitate the conversion of vacant commercial buildings into new residential developments for workforce or senior housing.
  • The budget also increases the limit on notes and bonds that WHEDA can issue, secured by a capital reserve fund, from $800 million to $1 billion. This allows WHEDA to continue financing projects supported by state and federal housing tax credits, contributing to the development of affordable housing throughout the state.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments