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Evers Rejects Leaders in His Own Party, Opposing Bipartisan Plan to Help Wisconsin Communities


Gov. Tony Evers is thumbing his nose at top Democratic leaders in his own party, opposing a bipartisan plan to help Wisconsin communities that they previously touted as necessary for Milwaukee’s success.

Republican leaders in the state Legislature are slamming Evers for publicly opposing a bipartisan plan to increase shared revenue by at least 10% to all Wisconsin communities, a proposal that, just a few days ago, was pushed by Milwaukee’s top Democratic officeholders as well as top Republicans in the state Legislature.

Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) released the following statement after Evers promised to veto the plan, which would fix the state’s shared revenue formula and allow Milwaukee to increase its sales tax (if voters agree in a referendum) to take care of a massive looming pension liability.

Evers said on May 4, 2023, that he can not support the plan because “it’s not enough,” even though top members of his own party supported the proposal in concept just a few days before in a press conference.

“After several weeks of meetings and negotiations with all parties involved – Democrats, Republicans, towns, villages, cities and counties – we reached a shared revenue proposal we believe the public will support,” Vos and LeMahieu wrote.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley have publicly touted the legislative plan at a previous press conference. When they announced the plan, the bipartisan group struck a rare show of unity. Johnson did push for some changes to plan details May 4, asking for a sales tax to slip public referendum and saying he doesn’t like some of the “strings” attached to the plan, such as changes to the Fire and Police Commission.

“It’s very disappointing to come so close to the finish line only to have the Governor publicly issue veto threats because he wants to spend more money,” Vos and LeMahieu said.

“The most pressing issue here is the bankruptcy Milwaukee will face if this bill does not pass. This is a disappointing move by Governor Evers. He should reconsider and work with us before the bill is brought to the floor of the Assembly,” the legislative leaders wrote.

We previously wrote about the plan, which also prevents local governments from defunding police and unelected bureaucrats from closing down businesses for more than 14 days without approval of elected officials who are accountable to the public.

At the press conference announcing the plan, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said the plan represented a “resetting of the relationship” between Milwaukee officials and the Republican-controlled state Legislature. He thanked Republican officials for being willing to work with Milwaukee. Republican state Rep. Tyler August called the plan a “generational change in the way we fund local governments.” He said people from “different political backgrounds actually sat down and did the hard work.”

“The sales tax will allow the city of Milwaukee to make investments in our pension system,” Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in the afternoon news conference.

Vos said that “one of the best parts of the deals” is a requirement that will ensure the number of Milwaukee police officers will not go down. He called that a “huge benefit for the state.” Vos said the previous shared revenue formula was “really outdated.” He promised that “every single community in Wisconsin is going to get a guaranteed 10% increase in the shared revenue they receive.”

But that’s not enough for Evers, who has veto power over the plan.


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