At long last, the Wisconsin legislature approved a two-year $57.2 billion budget. The agreement comes 4 months after the budget deadline and is expected to be signed by the Governor Friday. A hospital tax and taxes on oil companies didn't make it into the final bill. But the bill did include a cigarette tax increase that will raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 77-cents to $1.77. The bill also includes additional school aid for low-income districts and children's health insurance expansion and eliminates the tax on Social Security benefits.
Wisconsinites may be relieved that the budget impasse is over. Advocates for tax fairness will find the budget compromise lacking. However, advocates seem pleased with the overall spending priorities set forth in the new budget. For more read this statement from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.