Tennessee U.S. Reps. Burchett, DesJarlais, Green, Harshbarger, Ogles, and Rose Vote No on McCarthy’s Fiscally Reckless Continuing Resolution, Hagerty and Blackburn Vote No in Senate

Six of Tennessee’s nine member delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives voted “no” on Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s last-minute 45 day Continuing Resolution Saturday afternoon. Late Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed the bill in an 88 to 9 vote, just a few hours before the midnight deadline when the current fiscal year ends.

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Senate Votes to Pass House’s Stopgap Funding Bill, Averting Government Shutdown

The Senate voted to pass the House’s stopgap funding bill on Saturday night by a vote of 88 to 9, avoiding a government shutdown that would have occurred at midnight, the end of the fiscal year. The bill will now go to the White House for President Biden’s signature. 

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Congressman Andy Ogles Exposes ‘Set Up’ to Pass Continuing Resolution, Warns McCarthy Could Lose Speakership

Tennessee U.S. Representative Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on Monday morning’s episode of The Tennessee Star Report to share with listeners the state of the budget negotiations underway in the House; and in particular, expose what he characterizes as the purposeful handling of the House by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to result in another continuing resolution, instead of the regular order that he, the members of the House, and voters were promised.

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Matt Gaetz Spars with Maria Bartiromo over Biden Probes, Looming Government Shutdown

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz sparred with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday over the impeachment probe of President Joe Biden and the potential government shutdown. Bartiromo said in her opening monologue on “Sunday Morning Futures” that Gaetz was disrupting “the Republican wins” by standing against stopgap funding measures. 

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Tennessee U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles: ‘I Expect the Government Will Be Shut Down for Maybe 5 Days’ as House Votes on 12 Separate Appropriations Bills

One of the key figures in the center of the budget debate – Tennessee’s own Representative Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) – took a break from ongoing talks to join The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy Friday to fill in listeners on where the House is on the budget, and…

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Wisconsin Assembly Republicans Roll Out Nearly $3 Billion Tax Cut Plan

In the wake of Governor Tony Evers’ gutting of a historic tax cut proposal earlier this summer, Republicans are pushing another plan they said would deliver nearly $3 billion in tax relief for retirees and the middle class.

Conservative lawmakers said the plan to tap into the state’s projected $4 billion budget surplus is a “second chance” for the liberal governor to “do the right thing” and return overpaid tax dollars back to Wisconsin’s taxpayers.

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House Conservatives Say Any Spending Bill Must Address Border Security, DOJ Weaponization

The House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers in the House, outlined Monday what conditions would need to be met for them to vote for a new spending bill.

The group is calling for spending bills to include provisions on border security, the “unprecedented weaponization” of the Justice Department and FBI, and the Pentagon’s “cancerous woke polices.” The lawmakers also oppose “any blank check for Ukraine in any supplemental appropriations bill.”

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Budget Revisions at Impasse over Tax Cuts and Underfunded Virginia Schools

Virginia entered the fiscal year on July 1 without a revised budget for the first time in over 20 years due to a lack of consensus in the General Assembly – to the tune of roughly $1 billion.

Virginia operates on a two-year budget that is passed in even years, but revisions are made in odd years to keep up with state programs, priorities and changes in legislation.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Calls Governor Tony Evers a ‘Liar’, Expects Evers’ Partial Vetoes to be Challenged in Court

Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ “creative” partial veto that boosts public education spending for the next four centuries “proves he’s a liar,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said during a Sunday morning interview. 

The Rochester Republican said the governor’s “unprecedented” veto trick leaves Republicans — and taxpayers who would be on the hook for 400-plus years of spending increases —  with “little option” but to take the governor to court. 

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Michigan Department of Education Gets 54 Percent Boost in Funding in Upcoming Budget

The Michigan Department of Education is set to receive a 54% increase in funding in the 2023-24 budget despite lagging student test scores.

The proposed budget increases funding for the MDE from $420.6 million in the current budget to $647.4 million in 2023-24. That’s a $226 million increase from the previous fiscal year.

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Republican Tax Cuts Headed for Budget Showdown

The $4.4 billion tax cut plan approved by Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol is the latest piece of the new state budget that Gov. Tony Evers is promising not to sign.

Republicans on Thursday okayed a tax cut package that will lower income taxes for everyone, but will give top earners in the state a larger tax cut.

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Wisconsin’s Budget-Writing Committee Passes Budget with ‘Historic’ $4.3 Billion Tax Cut

After a season of spending, the Wisconsin Legislature is finally getting around to talking tax cuts. Perhaps Republicans have saved the best for last.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee put the finishing touches on a complete rewrite of Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ 2023-25 state budget proposal, passing a tax reform package that promises to deliver $3.5 billion in income tax cuts and nearly $800 million in property tax relief. 

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Atlanta Passes Largest Budget in City’s History

Atlanta city leaders have signed off on the largest budget in the city’s history.

The $790 million fiscal 2024 general fund budget is a nearly 4.8% increase from the city’s $754.2 million adopted fiscal 2023 budget and a more than 7.8% increase from the nearly $732.7 million in fiscal 2022 expenditures.

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Commentary: A Heated Argument in the House Portends Good Results for the Budget

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, 2004.

I must’ve used this quote a thousand times (primarily mitigating fights between contentious children of different ages) without even realizing its origin. I’ve often wondered why emotion-driven youths (and big people, too) simply amp up the volume when intellectually dueling with others rather than maintaining the discussion at an even keel and perhaps lulling their opponents into listening to what they’re saying – or screaming even louder.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs State Record $117 Billion Budget

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s record-setting budget on Thursday which will increase state employee salaries, spend $1.6 billion on restoring the Everglades ecosystem and speed up infrastructure projects across the Sunshine State.

House Bill 2500 is the General Appropriations Act and the state budget for fiscal year 2023-24. Dubbed the “Framework For Freedom Budget” by the DeSantis administration, the bill provides $117 billion in state funding for projects across the state, including increases in education funding, teacher salaries and recruitment bonuses to attract more law enforcement officers.

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Connecticut Gov. Lamont Signs Budget with Historic Income Tax Cut

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is touting a $51 billion, two-year state budget that includes the “largest” income tax cut in state history.

The spending plan, which he signed on Monday after winning approval from the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, increases state spending by about 7.5% over the next two fiscal years but keeps the expenditures under the state’s cap on spending. 

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Mayor Glenn Jacobs Proposes Record-Size Budget in Knox County That Doesn’t Raise Taxes

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to the newsmaker line to discuss the county’s record-sized budget that doesn’t raise taxes.

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Green Bay Area Lawmakers Request $2 Million in State Funds to Support NFL Draft at Legendary Lambeau Field

Two Green Bay lawmakers are asking for $2 million from state taxpayers to help cover the costs of Title Town hosting the 2025 NFL draft.

State Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and State Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay) argue the return on investment will be significant, with the widely watched NFL draft expected to generate some $94 million for the state — $20 million to Green Bay alone.

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Commentary: Any Debt ‘Default’ Will Be Biden’s Choice

There’s enough revenue to pay interest on the debt even if the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is reached.

Meaning, if the U.S. defaults on the debt on June 1, it will be because President Joe Biden chose not to make principal and interest payments on U.S. Treasuries out of existing revenue, for which there is more than ample revenues to service and refinance up to the current debt ceiling limit, $31.4 trillion.

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Report: Wisconsin Tax Collections Projections Come in Lower Than Expected

Wisconsin state tax collections over the next three years are projected to come in more than three-quarters of a billion dollars lower than expected, according to a new report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. 

Republican lawmakers say the revised projections further underscore their efforts to remake a more fiscally responsible biennial budget out of Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ big-spending proposal. 

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Vos Teases Tax Cut Plan for Wisconsinites ‘Who Actually Pay Taxes’

The focus at the Wisconsin Capitol has, so far, been on sending more money to local governments across the state. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says that’s going to change.

Vos on Friday told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber that Republicans are working on a plan to use about $3 billion of Wisconsin’s record $7 billion surplus on tax cuts.

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Kemp Signs Georgia’s Fiscal 2024 Budget

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget on Friday, saying it will help Georgia maintain its standing as “the best state for opportunity.”

“House Bill 19 funds our priorities and places our state on strong financial footing, keeping us on the road to economic growth even while policies coming out of Washington, DC, push the country closer to a recession,” Kemp, a Republican, said in remarks before the signing.

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Florida Lawmakers Finish Session by Approving $117 Billion Budget

The Florida legislative session has come to an end after state lawmakers made their final votes on the budget on Friday.

Senate Bill 2500, the General Appropriations Act, passed both chambers on day 60 of the regular session and is set to be far higher than initially planned, reaching an estimated $117 billion, $7 billion higher than the previous year’s budget.

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Wisconsin’s Largest Business Advocate Applauds Republicans’ Removal of Hundreds of Governor Tony Evers’ Proposals from Budget

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee this week jettisoned 545 of liberal Governor Tony Evers’ budget proposals, packed with higher taxes on businesses and individuals and growing government initiatives.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business advocate, is applauding the Republican-controlled budget-writing committee for trimming Evers’ bigger government budget plan. 

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Commentary: The ‘Limit, Save, Grow’ Plan’s Discretionary Spending Caps that Save More than $3 Trillion Might Not Be Enough

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the House Republican majority have unveiled their spending plan for the next decade, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, that will be tied to a $1.5 trillion increase in the $31.4 trillion national debt ceiling, the centerpiece of which imposes discretionary budget caps beginning in 2024, but which will be set at 2022 levels, which could save more than $3.2 trillion over the next decade, according to an estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

While an official score still has not come in from the Congressional Budget Office, the proposal stands out as a promise kept on McCarthy’s part to use the must-pass debt ceiling to restore some semblance of fiscal sanity to the out-of-control federal budget and national debt, the latter of which the White House Office of Management and Budget projects will rise to a gargantuan $50.7 trillion by 2033.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Hike Spending over Gov. Lamont’s Budget Plan

Connecticut Democrats are moving ahead with a $51 billion two-year budget that includes more money for education, health care, and other priorities.

The spending plan, approved Wednesday by the Legislature’s Democratic-led Appropriations Committee, calls for boosting spending in the next fiscal year by an estimated $400 million over Gov. Ned Lamont’s preliminary budget, filed in February.

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MNPS Leaders Present Proposed Upcoming School Year Budget to School Board

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) leaders presented their proposed budget for the 2023/2024 school year to the school board.

Included in the presentation were numbers for a baseline budget that allows MNPS to maintain this year’s services, along with requests for additional money to fund new programs. The baseline budget called for an extra $55 million to account for inflation and raised the needed funding to just over $1.1 billion.

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Governor Lee Amends Proposed Legislation, FY23-24 Budget to Accommodate Stronger Measures to Strengthen School Safety

One week after the school shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that left six dead, Governor Bill Lee proposed additional actions to strengthen safety at public and private schools across Tennessee, including amending the budget for fiscal year 2023-2034 as well as an existing bill making its way through the state legislature.

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Minnesota Lawmakers Agree to $17.9 Billion Target

Minnesota lawmakers agreed to spend an additional $17.9 billion on top of the base budget of $52.4 billion, likely depleting the state’s current $17.2 billion surplus. 

The target includes $3 billion in tax breaks but doesn’t specify how relief will be delivered. 

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Commentary: Governor Shapiro’s First Budget Falls Short

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first state budget proposal perpetuates unsustainable spending and fails to address the most promising ideas he put forward during his campaign. For starters, his budget calls for $45.9 billion in ongoing General Fund spending – but the state has only $43 billion in net revenues, so the governor is positioning us for a nearly $3 billion annual deficit.

Spending that exceeds revenue is unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible for individuals, businesses, and certainly for government.

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Speaker Cameron Sexton: The State Budget is the Top Priority Before Session End

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the newsmaker line to comment on federal education funding, charter schools, choice lanes, Randy McNally’s social media snafu, and the top priority before the session ends.

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Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley Grills Biden’s Treasury Secretary on Social Security, Inflation During Biden Budget Hearing

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Thursday grilled Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on whether she still believes inflation is a positive for Americans and the economy. 

During the Senate Finance Committee hearing on President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal,  Grassley also asked Yellen whether her boss has it in him to rise about politics and lead on shoring up a troubled Social Security system headed down the road to insolvency.  

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‘That’s a Lie’: GOP Senator Presses Janet Yellen on Plan to Pay for Social Security

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana accused the Biden administration of lying about its commitment to working with Congress to protect seniors’ social security benefits at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday.

Cassidy asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was testifying about President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024, if the president was aware that “when [Social Security] goes broke in nine years” there would be a 24% cut in benefits for current recipients.

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Commentary: Despite ‘Strong’ Rhetoric, Biden Administration Signals Gloomy Economic Outlook

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the now-released President’s Budget is projecting just 0.6 percent in inflation-adjusted real growth of the U.S. economy in 2023 as the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 4.3 percent in 2023 and peak at 4.6 percent in 2024 after the economy is finished overheating from the continued, elevated inflation, consumers max out on credit and spending falls off a cliff.

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Virginia General Assembly Adjourns after Passing ‘Stopgap’ Budget, No Final Deal

The politically-divided Virginia General Assembly agreed on a “stopgap” budget bill before lawmakers adjourned the legislative session Saturday, with lawmakers indicating work remains to reach a final deal on amendments to the state’s two-year state spending plan. 

Without an agreement reached on key aspects of proposed amendments to the state’s budget – including $1 billion in tax cuts proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin – the legislature agreed to pass what House Appropriations Committee Chair Del. Barry Knight described as a “stopgap” budget with just a few items. 

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Tennessee Titans Stadium Proposal Submitted to Metro Council for Approval

A final budget proposal for how the new Tennessee Titans football stadium will be funded has been submitted to the Nashville Metro Council by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the football team.

The legislation will be subject to three readings, beginning at the council’s next meeting on March 7th. April 4th is the earliest possible date for the agreement to be finalized.

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Tennessee Commission Reports at Least $62.9 Billion of Public Infrastructure Improvement Needs

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) announced last week the release of its 21st annual report on the public infrastructure needs across the state during the five-year period of July 2021 to June 2026.

The latest report, “Building Tennessee’s Tomorrow: Anticipating the State’s Infrastructure Needs,” indicates there is $1.2 billion or 2 percent increase over the year before. And while the costs have increased for the seven straight reporting period, they decreased when adjusted for inflation and population.

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Sumner County Elections Hires Attorney Whose Lobbying Firm Represents MicroVote Election Equipment Used in Sumner County

GALLATIN, Tennessee – The Sumner County Election Commission (SCEC), on a 3 to 2 voice vote, decided in its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday to engage the services of legal counsel to represent them against the County Commission. The attorney specifically named in the motion is a principal with the law firm’s lobbying affiliate that represents MicroVote General Corporation, makers of the voting machines used in Sumner County elections.

In his motion, Republican-appointed SCEC member Mike Fussell made the unusual move of specifically naming attorney Tom Lee to provide the legal services as one “who is very familiar with the workings of Sumner County government.”

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Tennessee Revenues for January $212.9 Million over Budget

State tax revenues for the month of January exceeded budgeted estimates by $212.9 million, according to the monthly revenue announcement released Wednesday by Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Jim Bryson.

The state’s surplus in year-to-date tax collections is $1.17 billion through six months.

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State Budget-Writing Co-Chair on Evers’ Budget Plan: So Many Bad Ideas, So Little Time

Forget the ax, the Legislature’s budget-writing committee is about to take dynamite to Governor Tony Evers’ record $104 billion budget proposal. 

The Democrat’s 2023-25 budget blueprint seeks a 24 percent spending increase over the biennium, funding a long list of liberal policy initiatives and grow government agenda items. 

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Evers Unveils Record $104 Billion Budget Plan, Republicans Get Ready to Rewrite

Billing it a “breakthrough budget,” Governor Tony Evers rolled out a massive two-year spending plan on Wednesday that would dump billions more taxpayer dollars into a host of new programs, raise taxes by $1 billion-plus on businesses, deliver a sweetheart deal to the Milwaukee Brewers, and gobble up much of the state’s historic $7.1 billion surplus. 

At approximately $104 billion, Evers’ budget proposal is the first to break the $100 billion mark and comes in at about $13 billion more than his 2021-23 plan and more than $16 billion higher than the current budget he signed into law in June 2021. 

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Evers Looks to Freeze Wisconsin’s Popular School Choice Program in Latest Budget

Governor Tony Evers is getting pushback again for his latest plan to freeze out Wisconsin’s popular parental school choice program. 

The Democrat, as he did in his last budget plan, is proposing to freeze enrollment in schools participating in private school choice program beginning in the 2024-25 school year at 2023-24 levels.

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Nashville Mayoral Candidate Natisha Brooks Outlines Her Agenda Items

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Nashville mayoral candidate Natisha Brooks in studio to discuss her stance on the Titans Stadium deal, reduction of Metro Council members, police support, education, and fixing the budget.

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Florida’s DeSantis Seeks Tax Relief in Proposed $114 Billion Budget

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Tallahassee Wednesday to discuss his “Framework for Freedom” budget.

DeSantis’ proposed $114.8 billion budget contains some tax relief measures as the economy in the Sunshine State has performed far better than other states. Last year the state surplus was over $20 billion, and DeSantis stated that this money needs to go back to the people.

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Bill to Cut Nashville City Center Funding Calls into Question Tax Plan for New $2.2B Titans Stadium

A new proposed bill in the Tennessee not only proposes cutting some of the state tax funding to pay debt on the Music City Center, but it also calls into question plans to build a new $2.2 billion Tennessee Titans stadium.

Senate Bill 648, filed Thursday by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, on behalf of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, would change the way taxes flow to Metro Nashville to pay debt from the Music City Center, which opened in 2013. The bill does not yet have a House sponsor.

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Fiscal Hawks Warn Biden: No Debt Ceiling Deal Without Fiscal Reforms

The fiscal hawks are sticking to their guns. 

On Friday, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) joined 22 of their fellow Republican senators in a letter warning President Joe Biden that they will not vote for increasing the debt ceiling without structural reforms to the federal government’s budget and debt problems. 

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Study: Students in Wisconsin Choice Schools Outperforming Public School Peers

On this National School Choice Week, a new study by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty shows parental choice programs continuing to outperform public schools, particularly in the state’s largest city. 

“Apples to Apples: Accessing Wisconsin State of Education”, accesses Badger State educational performance across public, charter, and private voucher schools.

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Gov. Tony Evers Signals Big Spending Plans for Wisconsin in State of the State Address

In his fifth State of the State address Tuesday evening, Gov. Tony Evers began laying out how he plans to use Wisconsin’s $6.6 billion surplus, pitching a spending bender of big government initiatives already with a price tag to date of around $1.3 billion. But there’s more to come. Evers is still constructing his biennial budget plan, set for release in a few weeks. 

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