Evers signs 2021-23 biennial budget, providing one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history
WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Governor Tony Evers signed off on most of the state's two-year spending plan authored by the Republican-run Legislature, but called for continuing efforts to accomplish his goals.
The budget includes a historic $2 billion income tax cut, reduced property taxes, lifting the UW System's tuition freeze, restoring two-thirds funding and the go-ahead for infrastructure projects like I-94 expansion in Milwaukee County.
"This budget leaves much unfinished business, and there is always more work to do," Gov. Evers told reporters at a news conference at Cumberland Elementary.
Republicans threw out Evers' original budget proposal and started from scratch. The reduced version does not include items the governor hoped to pass. While he did not get everything he hoped for, Evers said the option to veto the whole bill was out of the question because of the risk to lose out on funding from the federal government.
"At the end of the day, vetoing this budget in its entirety would've meant jeopardizing those investments that I just mentioned, but also likely causing our kids and schools to lose $2.3 billion in federal funds when they need it the most," Evers said.
Evers put pressure on the GOP to accomplish things not in the budget in the future.
"The biggest problems with the budget are not the things that need to be removed by the stroke of a pen, but rather the work the Legislature has left undone," Evers said.
Republicans largely celebrated the budget signing as a victory for their party.
"[Gov. Evers] was forced to accept our budget, I'm glad that it's signed into law," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R - Rochester) told reporters at a news conference in Hales Corners. "But as my colleagues said, there are dramatic errors in the budget."
Vos and other Republicans were disappointed in the 50 partial vetoes used by Gov. Evers. They also criticized the Democratic governor taking credit for the tax cut in the budget which they authored.
"He did not take ownership for the decisions that he made early on in the process which would've raised taxes, expanded welfare, expanded the size of government," Vos said. "But in the end, after he was boxed in and forced to accept a Republican budget, he took credit for the work that we did."
Evers also announced an additional $100 million investment in schools that comes from federal funding not tied to the budget.
A copy of the governor’s full veto message is available below: