Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:46 pm
Middle class families in Milwaukee have been telling us for years to fight for the things that will make life a little easier for them – like access to affordable, quality health care; a promise to protect our public schools in order to keep property taxes steady; a strong university and technical college system they can afford, and a safe community.
We listened to their concerns. What they need was reflected in Governor Doyle’s budget. A great deal of what they need was even approved by the Joint Finance Committee. On Tuesday, the Assembly Republicans, instead of honoring their requests, did the exact opposite and stuck it to Milwaukee’s middle class families.
It’s outrageous. The Republicans cut an expansion to BadgerCare that would have insured Milwaukee’s children and low-income adults. They cut our public schools by $14 million dollars – that means nearly 200 teachers lost, larger class sizes, the elimination of the SAGE program and other worthwhile programs. They passed historic cuts to the university system and financial aid. They also singled out Milwaukee for budget cuts that are greater than the cuts to other communities in our state, and could result in a loss of police and fire protection that we need in our city.
The worst news is that all of these cuts could result in the largest tax levy increase in our city’s history, and push many middle class families over the brink.
Fortunately, this isn’t the last word on the state budget. There is still time to make things right for Milwaukee’s middle class families. I will continue to do all I can to make sure that their priorities are put back into our state’s budget. It’s the only fair way to craft a budget.
State Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) represents the 19th District in the state Assembly and is the assistant minority leader.