Governor Evers acts on biennial budget

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)--- Exactly one week since the state Senate approved the 2019-2021 budget, Governor Tony Evers signed the biennial budget into law with partial vetoes.

"Unfortunately, this budget that I have now signed is, in many ways, insufficient,” said Evers. “This is, in large part, due to the unfortunate lack of interest by some Republicans in the Legislature to work together and engage in constructive, bipartisan dialogue, and instead devoting far too much time to huffing and puffing.”

The $81 billion budget approved by the Republican-led Legislature is less than what Evers requested. Total spending under the Republican plan would increase 5.4% over two years. Evers had planned 8.3% in total spending.

What is included in the budget

  • K-12 Schools : Provides nearly $330 million, the largest nominal dollar increase in state general aid. Through the veto process, increases per pupil state categorical aids by nearly $100 million over the biennium.
  • Property Taxes: Property Taxes would increase by 2% in the first year and 1.6% the second year. This would mean the average tax bill on a $174,000 property would increase by $56 in the first year and $48 in the second year of the budget.
  • Income Taxes:There would be more than a $450 million cut over two years. It would be an average savings of $91 per person the first year and $124 in 2020.
  • Higher Education: Increases state general aid for the Wisconsin Technical College System by $25 million. The budget also commits over $1 billion in bonding authority, the largest nominal increase ever, to modernize aging University of Wisconsin buildings and improve learning environments.
  • Transportation: Provides more than $465 million overall for transportation projects across the state. The budget also invests $320 million in additional funding for our State Highway Rehabilitation program.

“Vetoing this budget in its entirety would have been more of the same divisiveness and petty, political theatrics that the people of Wisconsin have had to put up with for far too long, ” said Evers. “While many see the conclusion of our work on the budget as an ending, this budget is just the first step on the road ahead. There is much work to do and many Wisconsinites who are counting on us to work together to get things done.”

The Republican-crafted budget left out several of the governor's priorities, including medicaid expansion and raising the gas tax to pay for roads. Gov. Evers used his veto power to make 78 changes to the budget, including scrapping funding for a Capitol security study and a study on tolling and mileage-based fees to pay for roads.

Gov. Evers said one of the biggest changes was allocating more money for K-12 education by $87 million.

Gov. Evers raised the per pupil state aid amount to $742 in each of the next two fiscal years. The Republicans included $679 in the first year and $704 in the second.

Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald told reporters Wednesday this was a good budget, and he is glad the governor signed it.

"I want to thank Gov. Evers for signing the budget into law today with minimal changes including, fully embracing the middle class tax cut," Fitzgerald said.