Steven Walters
The State of Politics

10 Evers Proposals GOP Will Kill

Top priorities for the governor which Republicans aim to kill.

By - Apr 29th, 2019 12:59 pm
Gov. Tony Evers. Photo by Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Gov. Tony Evers. Photo by Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Prediction: Republican legislators will have built and passed their own 2019-21 state budget in two months, meeting a July 1 deadline.

Prediction: These 10 priorities of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers won’t be in that GOP budget:

1: Republicans won’t expand Medicaid, paid for largely with federal funds.

What Evers said in his Feb. 28 budget address:

“We need to expand Medicaid … 82,000 more Wisconsinites will have access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. And because we’re accepting these federal dollars, we have the opportunity to invest in programs that improve healthcare access and affordability across our state.”

Why Republicans won’t go there: Everyone at or below federal poverty guidelines is already on Medicaid, so the expansion would expand “welfare,” they say. And, after eight years of saying “no” to Medicaid expansion; they don’t know how to say “yes.”

However, to continue the current Medicaid program with no additional federal dollars, Republicans must find an additional $350 million in state tax dollars. That’s one reason the Associated Press quoted Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, a Finance Committee member, as saying he’s looking for a compromise that would net the additional federal cash.

2: Evers asked legislators to “decriminalize marijuana possession for 25 grams or less,” saying it would cut prison and criminal-justice system costs.

What Republicans say: There may – just may – be a way to legalize medical marijuana, but no way are we going to start Wisconsin down the “slippery slope” of legalizing recreational marijuana.

3: A middle-income tax cut paid for by ending a tax break claimed by owners of manufacturing companies. “We’re going to cut taxes by 10 percent for everyone making up to $100,000 and families making up to $150,000,” Evers said. “We’re going to fund tax relief for hard-working families by capping a corporate tax credit, 80 percent of which goes to filers making more than $1 million a year.”

What Republicans say: That tax break has created jobs and is one reason Wisconsin’s economy is on “roll.” The state’s unemployment rate is a record 2.9 percent, though the state continues to trail most in job creation.

4: Evers wants to boost spending on K-12 public schools by $1.5 billion by mid-2021, including $600 million more for special education. “We’ve failed to fund programs for our kids with special needs,” Evers said. “Our budget includes an unprecedented $600 million increase in special education funding. We shouldn’t have to squeeze resources to make sure every kid can be successful.”

But Olsen, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, speaks for his party on this issue: “We can’t afford Gov. Evers’ education budget.”

5: Evers wants “a nonpartisan redistricting commission,” which would draw legislative district lines after the 2020 federal census. “Nonpartisan redistricting is only part of the democratic process and participation.”

What Republicans say: The state Constitution requires the Legislature – controlled by Republicans since 2011 – to draw new district boundaries. The current system works just fine, thank you.

6: “We’re also going to direct the Elections Commission and the Department of Transportation to work together on implementing automatic voter registration,” Evers declared.

But Republicans have spent years passing, and getting sued over, new requirements to vote – including producing a photo ID and limits on absentee voting, They won’t automatically add to the voting roll everyone issued a Wisconsin driver’s license.

7: In-state tuition for children of immigrants. Evers said: “Regardless of whether a kid was born in this country, if they went to a Wisconsin high school and have lived here for three years, they shouldn’t have to pay more for tuition.”

But this would treat the children of immigrants better than Wisconsin’s military veterans, said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. No way.

8: “Undocumented folks will be eligible to receive driver’s licenses and ID cards,” the governor said. “This makes our roads and our communities safer, and helps strengthen our economy and Wisconsin families.”

As the nation debates immigration policies, Wisconsin Republicans aren’t ready to go there.

9: Raise the $7.25 minimum wage to $8.25 per hour and, in steps, to $10.50 by 2023. Tie that wage to inflation and have a task force consider how it could eventually be $15.

But Republicans like Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman noted that they learned the value of hard work as youths while earning the minimum wage or less, so it’s a life-lessons experience.

10: Evers submitted a two-year budget spending $83.7 billion – 8 percent more than the current budget – that would also wipe out a surplus.

Republicans: That’s irresponsible. We will spend much less.

Steven Walters is a senior producer with the nonprofit public affairs channel WisconsinEye. Contact him at

2 thoughts on “The State of Politics: 10 Evers Proposals GOP Will Kill”

  1. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    A couple of corrections Steve.

    1. Immigrants that live in Wisconsin would only get in-state tuition. Veterans that live in Wisconsin already get in-state tuition plus remissions from the GI Bill. Fitzgerald is talking about NON-residents and the benefits they might get beyond the GI Bill. Please correct. And stop repeating GOP lies.

    2. Wisconsin’s economy is hardly on a “roll”. In fact, job growth is near 0 in the last 3 months, and manufacturing jobs are way below the US rate, even with all of these expensive giveaways. The only reason unemployment is low is because the labor force is declining as the state rapidly ages and loses talent.

    3. We can afford the extra money in K-12. It’s just a matter of whether you think that investment is worth it vs other things like Foxconn giveaways and adding to the prison population.

  2. mkwagner says:

    Republican stands on these issues demonstrates in controversially how out of touch they are with Wisconsin voters.

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