Evers proposes $150 checks under plan to spend surplus

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers discusses the importance of tourism to the state during a stop in...
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers discusses the importance of tourism to the state during a stop in Ladysmith, Wis. on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. The state handed out about $15 million in grants for tourism and sports marketing in Wisconsin earlier this month.(Jeff Ralph | WEAU)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 1:05 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has unveiled an election year plan that would send $150 to every Wisconsin resident, bolster funding for K-12 schools and help defray child care costs.

Evers released the plan Thursday, a day after state budget projections grew by $2.9 billion more than expected just six months ago. Evers’ plan would spend $1.7 billion of the state’s surplus. But don’t go spending those refund checks just yet. Evers’ plan would have to be approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature to take effect. Republican leaders on Wednesday said they want to use the money for a tax cut in 2023.

“My plan puts even more money in people’s pockets to help make ends meet, bolsters our workforce by helping families with the costs of childcare and caregiving, and makes robust investments in our kids and our schools without raising property taxes,” Gov. Evers said in a statement while unveiling his plan. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—Wisconsinites can’t wait for relief from rising prices.”

In a tweet thread highlighting how his administration would spend the nearly three-billion-dollar surplus, Evers’ Office explained $150 would go to all residents, meaning a family of four would receive a total of $600 from the state. While the refunds are included in a larger package proposed by Evers’ camp that would need to be passed by state lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, the bill sets a goal for the checks to start going out in mid-July.

It estimated this part of the plan would cost a little more than $815 million, which is more than a quarter of the estimated surplus.

Gov. Evers’ proposal also sets aside more than $750 million for the state’s education system, the lion’s share of which would go towards the state’s K-12 system. According to the governor’s office, nearly a third of the $611 million set aside for the state’s primary and secondary schools ($188 million) would go toward continued property tax relief and to offset the costs of rising inflation.

Another $172.6 million would be directed toward the special education aid reimbursement rate, raising it from 30 percent to 40 percent, while just over $100 million would be used to increase per-pupil school aid. A full list of provisions, as listed by the governor’s office, is available here.

The plan also adds another $111 million for the University of Wisconsin System and $28 million for the Wisconsin Technical College System.

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