Finance Committee Finishes Work On Budget Fix

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Property taxes and state spending would be frozen for three years under the plan approved today. Local governments could increase their tax levies only to impose property taxes on new construction or development.

Municipalities would be allowed to exceed the caps through a voter referendum, while towns with populations below two-thousand could exceed them by passing a resolution at their annual meeting.

Overhauls the formula the state uses for distributing money to local governments. Doyle had proposed reducing the state aid local governments receive on a per capita basis. The committee's version changes the formula for distributing the money to larger municipalities to base it on their expenses for basic services like police, fire and libraries. Smaller municipalities would have their aid cut about eleven and a-half percent.

Cuts $250 million from the UW System and impose deep cuts to various state agencies.

Schools would see increases in what they can spend per student of about 2 percent in the first year of the two-year budget and 1.6 percent in the second.

The committee also approved a package of changes to school funding and the Milwaukee school voucher program, including:

Allowing private schools in Milwaukee County, in addition to those in the city, to participate.

Making students in the program eligible for vouchers even if their family income no longer meets the program's criteria.

Lifting the cap on the number of students who can participate.

The program enrolls about 11,600 students in 100 schools, and the current cap is set at 15 percent of enrollment at Milwaukee Public Schools, or about 15,000 students

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