GOP lawmakers take victory lap touting budget, urge Evers to sign it

NOW: GOP lawmakers take victory lap touting budget, urge Evers to sign it

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A day after lawmakers passed the state budget, Republicans held events across the state touting the spending plan and urging Gov. Tony Evers to sign it.

Beyond tax cuts, the budget includes more money for nursing homes, long-term care facilities, UW System and construction projects. All items Republicans said could be at risk if Evers vetoes the bill entirely.

"He could veto the opportunity for us to give property tax relief," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). "Our message is simple, governor, sign the bipartisan budget, now is not the time to play politics."

Lawmakers in both chambers passed the budget largely along party lines, but seven Democrats joined them in voting for it. The $87.5 billion bill consists of $3.3 billion in tax cuts and increases spending by 5.4%. It also tosses out several of Gov. Evers' priorities such as expanding BadgerCare and legalizing marijuana.

Vos said it's the first time since 2007 a state budget has received bipartisan support.

"That is only because we listened to the hard-working people of Wisconsin, we tossed out the partisan document and ended up with one hopefully the entire state of Wisconsin can look and say we are proud of the work the Legislature has done."

One of the seven Democrats who voted for the budget was Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley (D-Mason). She said while the spending plan is not perfect, it's a step in the right direction.

"I don't think any [Democrats] would hold up that budget and say, boy am I proud of this," said Bewley. "We have a lot of work to do, this budget is a beginning to get where I want to be."

Governor Evers has some of the broadest veto powers in the county, allowing him to strike out words and sentences in the budget to change it to his liking. Two years ago, Evers issued 78 partial vetoes.

While it's rare, the governor could also veto the entire spending plan but that would put Wisconsin at risk of losing $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief aid for K-12 schools.

During a press event Thursday, Evers said he will be reviewing the budget over the next few days. Once the document arrives on his desk, he has six days to act on it, excluding Sunday.

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