Democrats call for state budget that puts families first, restores economic opportunity for all

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) – Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) and other legislative Democrats highlighted a need for a state budget that puts Wisconsin families first and restores economic opportunity for all. The group spoke at UMOS in Milwaukee Monday, February 2nd to discuss their vision for a strong Wisconsin budget.

“‘Trickle down’ Republican policies that favor massive giveaways to the very wealthy at the expense of our middle class have left Wisconsin families behind. While the rest of the nation and our neighbors are recovering from the Great Recession and experiencing strong job growth and budget surpluses, families in the Milwaukee area and throughout Wisconsin continue to struggle. Budgets are about priorities and Wisconsin needs a budget that puts families and economic opportunity first," Rep. Barca said.

In a statement, this group of Democrats said a recent study found that by one measure, Wisconsin’s budget is in the worst shape of any state in the nation (Pew Charitable Trusts study: http://bit.ly/1CPPVJD). Unlike our neighbors in Minnesota who invested in their communities, created quality jobs and have a $1.2 billion surplus, Wisconsin residents are stuck with a lagging economy and stagnant family wages. Instead of creating economic opportunity, the Walker budget will slash our state’s economic engine – the University of Wisconsin system – and continue to put the transportation budget on the state credit card, the Democrats say.

“To secure a positive future for this community and throughout the state, we must prioritize our kids and young people. Democrats stand ready to fight to create opportunities for our children to succeed and will work to strengthen communities across Wisconsin, especially in Milwaukee. I look forward to working with my colleagues to fight for working people and the Milwaukee area throughout the budget process," Rep. Zamarripa said.

Assembly Democrats will soon roll out an Economic Opportunity Agenda that will provide more detail on how Wisconsin can create opportunity for the middle class and those striving to get there.

“Democrats’ efforts are focused on working together to rebuild a strong middle class, close the skills gap and create opportunities for all the hardworking people in this state,” Rep. Barca said.

Gov. Scott Walker's state budget proposal is coming into clearer focus, with the second term Republican revealing major portions including $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin System and no new taxes to pay for transportation projects.

Walker will release his two-year spending plan Tuesday, February 3rd.

Walker faces a roughly $2 billion shortfall by mid-2017, based on spending requests submitted by state agencies.

He has released portions of his budget in recent days, but he hasn't said whether public schools will see an increase in aid, whether he will expand the private school voucher program and pay for it, or whether he will cut property taxes as promised.

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