Governor Asks Lawmakers to Use Projected State Budget Surplus to Reduce Taxes, Lower Health Insurance Costs and Spur Rural Economic Development

Two weeks ago, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) updated state lawmakers on the status of the state’s finances. There was plenty of good news to report. State tax collections are up and state government spending is down.

Governor Walker has asked state legislators to work with him to allocate a portion of the projected $385 million budget surplus to:

  • Create a new state individual income tax break – a refundable Child Tax Credit of $100 for every child under age 18;
  • Establish a Health Care Reinsurance Program whereby the State of Wisconsin would pay 80% of the cost of health coverage claims between $50,000 and $250,000 for individuals, families and small employers who purchase health insurance through the federal healthcare exchange; and
  • Implement a Rural Economic Development Fund to support the development of new businesses and the expansion of small businesses in rural areas of Wisconsin. Initial funding would be set at $50 million per year.

Generally speaking, we are supportive of the Governor’s plan, but we are awaiting further details to guide our lobbying efforts.