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Author: Tamarine Cornelius

Education’s Lost Decade: Wisconsin has failed to restore adequate funding for public schools

Despite recent increases, Wisconsin’s public K-12 school districts still receive less in state aid than they did a decade ago, prior to historic cuts to education. During that timeframe, state lawmakers chose to pass large tax cuts instead of investing the money in local schools. Lawmakers are also increasingly diverting resources allocated for education to private schools and independent charter schools, reducing the resources available for public school districts, which educate the vast majority of Wisconsin students. Deep funding cuts threaten Wisconsin’s tradition of high-quality public schools, which have long been an engine of Wisconsin’s economic growth. Wisconsin depends...

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Wisconsin’s low-paid workers get left behind again as minimum wages increase in 22 other states

Low-paid workers across the country are getting raises because 22 states increased their minimum wages on January 1 or near the end of last year. Those raises will lift workers out of poverty, help struggling families make ends meet, and make it easier for workers to achieve financial security. A minimum wage increase gives a particular boost to workers of color, for whom a long history of wage discrimination has depressed wages. Unfortunately, Wisconsin workers will not get any of those benefits, as Wisconsin was not among the states that increased their minimum wages. Wisconsin’s minimum wage is still...

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How Wisconsin can prosper by adopting an inclusive approach to undocumented immigrants

Undocumented immigrants come to Wisconsin in search of opportunity, looking for safe communities for themselves and their families. In return, they benefit our communities by bringing cultural and economic vibrancy, entrepreneurship, and an expanded workforce for some of the state’s most critical industries. Wisconsin lawmakers should implement policies that promote prosperity for immigrants who are undocumented, their families, and the communities that welcome them. Giving undocumented Wisconsin residents access to better opportunities would enable them to earn higher wages, spend more at local businesses, and contribute even more via their taxes to schools and other public investments that are...

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Tax policy changes exacerbate racial and ethnic disparities in Wisconsin

Tax policy can be a powerful tool for enhancing racial and ethnic equity, but two new reports show how recent tax changes at the state and federal level have disproportionately blocked households of color from receiving tax cuts, even as they protected or expanded tax cuts aimed at wealthy, white households. State and federal tax systems affect taxpayers of different races differently, even when those policies don’t explicitly mention race. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “How the Federal Tax Code Can Better Advance Racial Equity” explains how seemingly “race-neutral” provisions in the tax...

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Proposed Wisconsin budget aims at building a strong economy by contributing to what works

April 15th is the annual deadline for most people to file their income taxes. The day comes with many negative messages about taxes. But it is worth remembering that to build broad-based prosperity, it requires investing in what works and Wisconsin cannot do that without the revenue from taxes. The budget proposed by Governor Evers is an example of how taxes contribute to broad-based prosperity: by enabling investments in assets that help businesses thrive and hard-working people climb into the middle class. His budget builds on Wisconsin’s tradition of supporting high-quality schools and preschools, affordable higher education, a healthy...

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Raising the overtime threshold would improve quality of life for Wisconsin workers

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a proposal to set the salary threshold under which American workers are entitled to overtime pay to about $35,300 a year. While the Trump administration is touting the rule as a way to bring “common sense, consistency, and higher wages to working Americans,” the adoption of this new rule would leave behind millions of working people who would have gotten overtime protections under the 2016 guidelines by the Obama administration. Federal law requires that people working more than 40 hours a week be paid 1.5 times their pay rate for the extra...

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