Along with axing a proposal to restore driver’s licenses for non-citizens, the Republican-led budget-writing committee stripped 544 other items from Governor Evers’ budget proposal.
Items on the chopping block ranged under a swath of funding areas: housing, clean energy and environmental justice, water quality, child welfare, election funding, Medicaid expansion, public health, behavior health, Foodshare, law enforcement grants, legislative records, medical marijuana, PFAS standards, and many, many more.
Republicans voted to revert the budget back to its base form, meaning that the budget they will be building off going forward is the state’s last budget, and not the budget proposed by Governor Evers.
Republican Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam is the Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, and said in a press conference before the joint finance meeting that Governor Evers proposed budget was unrealistic.
“He found a way to raise taxes $200 billion dollars but still end up with that massive structural problem, with all that reckless spending,” Born says. “So as the Senator said, we’ll toss that aside,we’ll work from base, from last year’s budget, craft a budget for all of Wisconsin, and do it in a way that won’t be a surprise to anyone.”
Evers’ budget would have increased state spending more than 17%, as lawmakers continue to debate how the state’s over $7 billion dollar budget surplus should be spent.
Minority Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee blasted their Republican colleagues for the cuts.
Representative Evan Goyke, a Democrat of Milwaukee on the JFC, says that young people are moving away from Wisconsin, and that it is their job to find ways to bring them back.
“This is a growth budget. This invests in people,” Goyke says. “We need to grow. From 2010 to 2020, Wisconsin had the slowest population growth in any decade in our state’s history. There is a cost associated with not investing in our people, because people are voting with their feet.”
Today’s cuts were just the first round of changes to Evers’ proposed budget. The Joint Finance Committee will meet again this Thursday for more budget deliberations.
It’s Governor Evers’ third budget proposal as Governor. All three proposals have been widely stripped by a Republican-led legislature.
Once both the Senate and Assembly pass the budget later this summer, the budget will go back to Evers’ desk, where he can veto either individual parts or the entirety of the budget. If no budget is agreed on by July 1, state spending will continue at levels set in the current budget.
Photo courtesy: Chali Pittman / WORT Flickr