Rep. August Reacts to Gov. Evers’ Budget Proposal

State government expansion fueled by massive $1 billion tax increase.

MADISON…This week, Governor Tony Evers unveiled his 2021-2023 biennial budget, which would increase government spending by over $8 billion, increase taxes by $1 billion, and rollback many successful reforms that have been enacted over the past decade.

“This budget is clearly a political document and illustrates that the governor is not serious about governing,” said August.  “Let me be clear:  The massive expansion of government funded by billion-dollar tax increases paired with the elimination of many successful conservative reforms has zero chance of passing the Legislature.”

Upon first look, August highlighted the following troubling provisions of the governor’s budget proposal:

  • $8 billion increase in government spending (nearly 10%)
  • $1 billion tax increase (not including increased energy taxes)
  • Repeals Act 10 Reforms, which have saved taxpayers nearly $14 billion over the past decade
  • Increases government jobs by 308 positions
  • $1 million for Green Jobs
  • Creates an “Office of Environmental Justice”
  • Expands welfare
  • Repeals Right to Work, which protects worker freedoms
  • Raises taxes on job-creating manufacturers by nearly $500 million
  • Fully legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Creates a fully state-based ObamaCare exchange
  • Higher local sales taxes
  • Increases energy costs
  • Creates an estimated structural deficit of -$1.3 billion by FY25
  • Takes the GAAP deficit from positive $1.5 million at the end of FY20 to a deficit of -$938 million

Conservative reforms and fiscally responsible budgets enacted by Legislative Republicans over the past decade have resulted in the elimination of budget deficits, creation of surpluses, and the rainy day fund growing to record levels.  This includes the highly successful taxpayer protections included in Act 10, which have been estimated to save taxpayers nearly $14 billion.  However the budget proposed by Evers would wipe out those budgetary reforms and result in a billion-dollar budget deficit.

“It is outrageous that Evers’ liberal wish list is so expensive and expansive that it would burn through our state budget’s billion dollar surplus, raise taxes by a billion dollars, and still end in a billion dollar deficit,” said August.  “This truly is an unrealistic budget created by an out of touch Madison liberal to appease his donors and pander to his liberal base.”

There are a few items in the budget that August said he could get behind.  These include a continuation of the tuition freeze for in-state students at UW schools as well as funding for small business assistance and mental health services. 

The introduction of the governor’s budget kicks off the months-long budget process in Wisconsin.  The legislature will now hold public hearings and put forth their ideas on the budget.  August pointed out that although there are many poison pills that are non-starters for Republicans, he is still optimistic a compromise can be struck that enacts a responsible budget.

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