Evers’ unveiled his proposal for Wisconsin’s next state budget Tuesday night. It includes adding 363 new state government jobs and the legalization of marijuana.
Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed 2021 spending plan would raise taxes by more than $1 billion, increase spending by nearly $8 billion, and erase the legacy of former Governor Scott Walker.
“When I ran to be your governor, I said it was time for a change. And I told you then as I’ll tell you tonight — that change won’t happen without you,” Evers said during his speech.
Evers also proposed significant rollbacks of Act 10 and Right to Work, two signature accomplishments of his predecessor, former Gov. Scott Walker. Act 10 saved local communities and schools millions of dollars through lower benefit costs. Wisconsin’s Right to Work law prohibits labor unions in the state from collecting dues from nonunion employees.
The governor said he wants to spend $8 billion more on schools, on the environment, on job training, on rebuilding after the coronavirus, and a laundry list of other priorities.
Republicans at the Capitol pronounced the governor’s ideas dead on arrival.
Evers’ proposed budget would raise taxes by $1 billion, and borrow $1.5 billion more. That would be in addition to any money Wisconsin gets from the federal government.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the governor budget is more a political wish list for the Madison left than anything resembling a spending plan.
“The Governor’s budget is completely irresponsible and unrealistic,” Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said after the governor’s speech. “Our responsible Republican budgeting allowed our state and our people to weather the 2020 storm and come out stronger. We’ll set Evers’ bad budget aside and continue to build on our strong foundation that put our state on strong fiscal footing over the decade.”
Government watchdogs say the last thing the people of Wisconsin need are more taxes, more debt, and more government.
“Instead of priorities to move the state forward, the governor’s budget proposal is more of a political document to fill the wish lists of his own party,” Vos said. “The spending plan contains far too many poison pills like expanding welfare, legalizing recreational marijuana, repealing Act 10 and growing the size of government.”
Szafir added: “Limit the spending so the state lives within its means like hardworking Wisconsin families. Hold the line on taxes and look for ways to bring down Wisconsin’s tax burden to encourage businesses to expand and get the state back to work again.”
“We live in tough times, where families all across the state are talking about if their job is coming back, when the state will open up, and how their children are learning in a very difficult learning environment,” the Institute for Reforming Government’s CJ Szafir said. “That’s why we think the Wisconsin legislature should reject the entire budget and start over by working off of the previous budget.”