State Senate Republicans Propose Sweeping Changes to Governor’s Child Care Proposal

Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Senate proposed sweeping changes Friday to Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ plans to address worker shortages in the state.

Governor Evers called a special legislative session that began in September in hopes of getting a $1 billion plan through the Senate and Assembly. The proposal would keep a pandemic-era child care subsidy program running, send more money to the University of Wisconsin and create a paid family leave program.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu’s office on Friday released a third plan that would cut income taxes for those making between $15,000 and $225,000 from 5.3% to 4.4%; create a state tax credit for families paying for child care; increase income tax deductions for private school tuition; make professional credentials granted to workers in other states valid in Wisconsin; and prohibit state examining boards from requiring counselors, therapists and pharmacists pass tests on state law and regulations.

The Senate plan also would enter Wisconsin into multistate agreements that allow physician assistants, social workers and counselors to work in all those states. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation could request money from the Legislature’s budget committee to help child care providers become certified.

The proposal also includes requirements that anyone who claims unemployment benefits to meet directly with potential employers, post a resume on the state Department of Workforce Development’s website and complete a re-employment counseling session if they have less than three weeks of benefits remaining.