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Greta Neubauer

  • 7 min to read

Schools could more adequately fund special education programs, pay teachers better, improve mental health services and undo budget losses from over the past 20 years. Nonprofit leaders say more grant money could help fill gaps in communities, particularly in overlooked areas like hygiene needs or lead pipe replacement. A local nun involved in social justice is hoping for the expansion of low-income housing in Racine by repurposing an iconic empty building, providing a stable stepping stone for local low-income households on the path to home ownership.

Wisconsinites who work with some of the state’s most vulnerable people have a lot of ideas of how they could help others. But it’s questionable at best whether they will directly see any of the surprise $4.4 billion the State of Wisconsin is expecting extra from tax collections.

The Republicans who hold majorities in the Legislature will likely use most or all of that extra $4.4 billion to create property and income tax breaks.

“Now with this new money that's coming in,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Rochester Republican who is the effective leader of the state Legislature, said a Thursday interview, “I think it's just a testament to the good work that we've been doing over the past year, and the fact that we've been good stewards of taxpayer dollars. So, knowing that, I look and say if we had more money than we needed before the $4.4 billion came in, I would be focused on making sure the vast majority of it — hopefully all of it — is returned back to the families, the taxpayers that paid it to us in a way that was more that we need it.”

Vos said he is "open to other suggestions,” for how the money can be used. But, he concluded, “I am presuming that we would do cuts in property taxes, cuts in income taxes ... The only thing I'm not open to is using it to grow the size of government.”

Republicans, including Vos, have argued that the state now has more money than it needs, and so they want to indirectly give that money back to taxpayers through tax cuts.

Gov. Tony Evers wants to use more than $50 million federal dollars to build a new health center in the heart of Racine's most diverse neighborhood. Fearing a roundabout increase in taxes and questioning Evers' methods, Republicans may leave the plan dead in the water, even though they argue Evers and Racine have other options to fund the ambitious project that Mayor Cory Mason deemed "a game changer" for the Lincoln-King neighborhood.

Many workplaces around the region and state are struggling to find workers. That is not debatable. What is being debated is the reason (or reasons) for the shortage and what can be done about it. 

Ed Kamin, manager of Racine County Workforce Solutions, said you can’t blame the worker shortages on “just one factor.” It’s a combination of them, and untold countless others affecting each individual situation. Here's what our investigation has uncovered.

Democrats are calling for several Wisconsin Republican lawmakers to be removed from the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections after they co-signed a letter earlier this month that unsuccessfully sought to convince Vice President Mike Pence to stall the certification of Joe Biden's election win.

The Jan. 5 letter was signed by 15 Wisconsin GOP legislators, including four who sit on the Committee on Campaigns and Elections.

Another 106 conservative representatives and senators from other states also signed the letter, as did Chuck Wichgers, a Muskego representative whose district includes Waterford and who defended his seat in the Nov. 3 election that he wanted to be investigated.

  • 4 min to read

In the early morning hours of June 1, the Thelma Orr COP House at 1146 Villa St. was set ablaze, not long after tear gas had been used to disperse a rowdy crowd in front of the police station, some of whom had started throwing rocks at cops in riot gear. With the streets crowded with protesters, part of international demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd, firefighters were unable to respond quickly and the COP House still hasn't reopened. “This wasn’t supposed to happen” a man said while filming the scene in front of his house with a cell phone.

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