The Better Choices alternative budget proposes freeing up revenue by extending BadgerCare benefits to adults at 138% of the Federal Poverty Line in order to accept federal money for Medicaid expansion. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that this would free up $345 million in the budget and cover 81,000 more adults under BadgerCare. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent report, Medicaid is an essential program to protect the health and well-being of low-income Americans who otherwise would not have insurance.
Additionally, the alternative budget reallocates funding for the Governor’s proposed $211 million property tax cut and caps the expanding costs of a tax break created in the 2011-2013 budget bill. These three measures would free up $782 million of revenue in the budget to invest in important programs that support the health of our communities.
Under the Better Choices alternative budget, the $782 million would mainly be reallocated to cover the proposed $300 million cut to the UW System, to give $200 million more to K-12 education than currently proposed in the Governor’s budget, and to cover the proposed cuts to long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities. The alternative budget proposal would also bolster revenue by $50 million, undo cuts to the Homestead Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, and avoid $162 million of other damaging budget cuts (See Graph). The Wisconsin Budget Project believes that this alternative budget would better invest in Wisconsin’s future and respond more appropriately to Wisconsin’s needs.
For more information about the alternative budget visit Better Choices for Wisconsin. The WAWH Budget Project will continue to update our issue areas and blog posts as the JFC debates and votes on the Governor’s budget.