Local Lawmakers React to the State Budget, Pressing Gov. Evers to Sign It

By: Brian Will 6/27/19 WSAW         

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The state budget is now in Governor Tony Evers' hands and Republicans are pressing him to sign it.

The Republicans spent the last few months stripping Evers' policy proposals out of the budget and whittling down his spending plans. The Assembly and Senate passed the budget this week. Evers can now sign it into law, veto it or use his partial veto powers to revise it to make it more palatable for Democrats.

Governor Evers hasn't revealed what he may do.

Republican lawmakers say the budget gives Democrats everything they have asked for without going into debt. "More money for education, more money for health care and more money for transportation. We have met those priorities while also not having a $2 billion dollar deficit and we are not increasing taxes," explained Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany of District 12.

Democrats say Republicans missed the mark. "I thought it was disappointing that my Republican colleagues chose to change the budget so dramatically compared to what Governor Evers introduced. At a time when people are asking us to work together and get things done for the people and not for one party," said Democratic Representative Katrina Shankland of the 71st Assembly District.

The budget increases school funding by $500 million which is a fraction of the $1.4 billion the governor wanted for education.

Republicans also voted to pull a Medicaid expansion from the budget saying it doesn't make financial sense. "I think the most important thing people don't realize is health outcomes are not as good for people on medicaid as they are for people on private insurance," said Republican Representative Mary Felzkowski of the 35th Assembly District.

"Governor Evers wanted to expand medicaid, he campaigned on it and Republicans refused even though 70-percent of people support it in Wisconsin," said Shankland.

The state budget also includes income and property tax cuts and an increase in pay for state workers. $1.9 billion of the $2.5 billion requested for building projects across the state. $484 million to repair roads against Evers $624 million.

The governor scheduled a press conference after an event in Beaver Dam on Thursday where he read to some children but he ended up leaving the event without speaking to the press.

The current budget will end on Sunday. If a new budget is not signed into law the current budget will continue.