Evers to slash $250 million from budget to pay for coronavirus response

In May, Evers cut $70 million from last year's budget
Gov. Tony Evers
Gov. Tony Evers(WMTV / Governor's Office)
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 1:53 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Wisconsin state agencies will need to slash a quarter-billion dollars combined to help the state pay for its response to COVID-19.

Gov. Tony Evers ordered the budget cuts Wednesday, directing the Dept. of Administration to work with each agency to come up with the cost savings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our nation, state, communities, businesses, and families,” Gov. Evers said. “All state and local governments are now experiencing the difficult balance of providing vital services to residents in crisis while also managing tough fiscal realities.”

The cuts will come from the current fiscal year, which started 22 days ago and runs until the end of June 2021, a statement from the administration explained. In May, Evers ordered the states 18 largest agency to cut $70 million from the previous fiscal year’s budget.

“We have hard and urgent decisions before us, but I have full confidence that my colleagues will rise to the challenge the governor presents us with today,” said DOA Secretary Joel Brennan.

Evers added that he hopes the federal government will pass new legislation freeing up more funds for local and state governments to battle the pandemic and its economic effects. Despite that, he said, “the unfortunate reality is that we must take these steps and make more significant cuts.”

UW System Responds

Within minutes of Evers’ announcing the new cuts, the University of Wisconsin System Interim President Tommy Thompson, a former governor, released a statement saying the UW is working with the governor’s office to manage the impact its schools.

However, Thompson also laid out his case that the universities are important drivers of the Wisconsin economy as well as being one of the state’s largest employers. He also argued the System has already “borne a disproportionate share of state cuts to date.”

“We have a compelling case, and I believe the Governor will be helpful,” he continued.

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