Various foreign wars and other military programs continue to add to the Wisconsin state budget. Governor Scott Walker wants to boost spending on veterans by $43 million over the next two years.
Walker says the $43 million is coming from the state's general fund, as well as program revenue from things like state nursing homes. He says a good chunk of the cash would go to add 110 new direct-care staff at the Veterans Home at King.
"Certainly for our more senior veterans, making sure we're putting that many new staff members in, I think ensures, not only for them, for a number of veterans' homes, we're not only caring for them, but also for their spouses."
Walker also proposes spending another $5 million for long-term solvency of the veterans trust fund, which pays for some veterans programs. A report last year said that money Walker put in two years ago wasn't enough, but the governor says,
"Well, we put additional money in the last time. Long term, as veterans homes get more solvent, that will help, because that will provide a long-term fix, but they just really didn't have a permanent funding source then, and so that's why we had to — last budget and this budget — begin to make sure that it was indeed solvent."
The governor also proposes some other items for veterans, like extending tax credits, improving the Wisconsin GI Bill, and making some changes in programs that try to help veterans find a job. At a news event in Milwaukee yesterday, Walker said he didn't know the percentage increase in spending he wants to make for veterans.