Gov. Scott Walker on Monday vowed to restore the state’s commitment to cover two-thirds of school costs.
Walker told conservative radio show host Jay Weber on WISN-AM (1130) he would put back in place the two-thirds funding for schools first made by former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson without raising property taxes. Hours later, Walker made campaign appearances in Milwaukee and Green Bay with Thompson by his side.
“The way we do it is simple,” he said at a stop at Pro Engineering & Manufacturing in Milwaukee. “It’s the way we have done it every year that I have been doing our budgets with good fiscal management….”
Also Monday, Walker pledged to give towns a big boost in road funding if he is re-elected. The plan is similar to one for counties he unveiled last month that would cost the state $57 million a year.
Walker did not say what his proposal for towns would cost or how he would come up with the money, but the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said it could cost more than $53 million a year.
“Maintaining our transportation system is a top priority, and our plan will help ensure we have a safe and reliable system for families and businesses across the state,” Walker said in a statement.
Fact on School Funding
This year, the state is covering 65.4% of the cost of K-12 education, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Bringing it to two-thirds this year would have cost about $130 million more, but figures for the next state budget have not yet been calculated.
Evers has said he wants to increase state funding for schools by $1.4 billion over two years. That’s far more than Walker, but like Walker, Evers has not said how he would fund his plan.
Walker accused Evers of restoring the funding by raising property taxes to pay for it.
Education has emerged as a central issue in the campaign for governor, and voters have repeatedly told Marquette University Law School pollsters they would rather increase spending on public schools than cut taxes if given the choice.
Thompson began funding two-thirds of K-12 in the 1995-’97 state budget. The commitment went away under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
Monday’s proposals from Walker came a day after Evers said he would cut income taxes by 10 percent for individuals making up to $100,000 and families making up to $150,000. Evers said he would fund that $340 million tax break by greatly scaling back a tax credit for farmers and manufacturers.
Walker dismissed Evers’ plan in his radio interview, saying overall taxes would go up under Evers.
“This is just shifting money around,” Walker said. “This is not an outright tax cut.”
He will still raise your property taxes. He will raise your gas tax,” he said. “Hold onto your purses. Hold onto your wallet. It’s going to cost you a lot of tax money.”