Late last Friday, the State Senate approved the 2017-19 budget.
They say "good things come to those who wait." I'm happy to report that despite the delay, we are delivering a budget that benefits everyone in our great state. This is an outstanding budget and one of the best I've ever worked on.
When it comes down to it, budgets are about priorities. Throughout the budget, we made taxpayers our number one priority.
Taxpayers will see $11.6 billion in tax relief. The average property tax bill this year will be lower than it was in 2010 and 2014. This budget doesn't just cut taxes, it begins the phase out the personal property and eliminates the forestry mill, the alternative minimum, and the soda water tax! Three taxes, gone.
We are continuing to make it more affordable to live, work, and retire in Wisconsin. We've also worked very hard to change our state's reputation to job creators. Back in 2010, we were in the bottom ten states for business according to CEO Magazine. Now we are in the top ten.
Without careful budgeting and major reforms, we wouldn't be in position to land companies like Foxconn, Haribo, and IKEA.
With those major employers choosing to locate in Wisconsin, we are making major investments in worker training so our workforce is ready for the family-supporting careers that are heading our way. By continuing the tuition freeze, we are keeping our outstanding UW System schools affordable.
This budget makes the largest real dollar investment in K-12 education ever. That means real money going into classrooms. We are giving more parents control over their children's education by letting them choose the best options for their child.
I'm particularly proud of the investment we are making in protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Wisconsin will soon be the only state in the nation to end the wait list for long-term supports for disabled children. We are investing more than $40 million in wage increases for Personal Care and Family Care workers. More working mothers will able to take promotions because we are eliminating the fiscal cliff in Wisconsin shares.
The budget will help shield taxpayers from any economic uncertainty. With $284 million in our rainy day fund, we are setting aside around $200 million in the ending balance of the budget.
This is a great budget that will continue to keep our great state headed in the right direction. On Wisconsin!