Wisconsin Public Radio

Evers Signs Budget But Reduces Tax Cut

Budget boosts K-12 spending, shared revenue to local governments and saves some UW DEI staff.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jul 5th, 2023 01:09 pm
Gov. Tony Evers signs the 2023-2025 biennial budget Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers signs the 2023-2025 biennial budget Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers has signed a Republican-drafted state budget that includes income tax cuts for most residents and a major increase in funding for K-12 education, more state aid to local governments and workforce housing. With his powerful veto pen, Evers spared 188 UW System diversity, equity and inclusion staff positions from elimination and eliminated tax cuts for the state’s two highest income brackets.

During a packed budget signing ceremony, Evers applauded investments for K-12 schools, transportation, broadband, workforce housing and PFAS contamination. The governor chided Republican state lawmakers, who he claims “failed to meet this historic moment” at a time when the state has a record budget surplus.

“They sent the budget back to my desk without making critical investments in key areas that they know and have acknowledged are essential to the success of our state,” Evers said. “And they did so while providing no real justifications, any kind of substantive debate or any meaningful alternative. That decision is, to put it simply, an abdication of duty.”

Evers’ original budget proposal called for using much of the state’s projected $7 billion surplus to provide an additional $2.6 billion for state public schools and $244 million for a new paid family and medical leave program for public and private workers. Other funding initiatives included new money for roads, lead pipe replacement and the Milwaukee Brewer’s stadium.

GOP legislators had a different vision.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly approved their own budget, which aimed to cut income taxes by $3.5 billion across all brackets, including the state’s wealthiest residents.

Evers vetoed the proposed cuts for the state’s top two income tax brackets while preserving the cuts to the bottom.

“Using my broad veto authority, I’m doing what I can to ensure that tax relief goes to working families who need help affording rising costs, not the wealthiest taxpayers in Wisconsin,” Evers said.

The GOP version of the budget also included a $32 million cut to the UW System budget and a reduction of 188 positions aimed at eliminating programming related to diversity, equity and inclusion at the state’s 13 universities.

Evers’ veto leaves those positions intact, and he said the budget still provides “an opportunity for the UW System to retain the $32 million in this final budget.”

“I also want to be clear,” Evers said, “The Republicans’ decision to prolong their decade-long war on higher education by failing to provide meaningful investments in our University of Wisconsin System and our technical colleges is shortsighted, misguided and wrong for the workforce, wrong for our economy and our state.”

Under the state budget approved by Republicans and signed by Evers, state employees will receive a 4 percent pay increase on July 1 and another 2 percent raise in 2024. Wages for guards at state prisons will increase to $33 an hour.

Some liberals in Wisconsin encouraged Evers to veto the entire state budget because of cuts to the UW System and childcare subsidies. Evers said that would mean abandoning priorities he’s spent four years advocating for. The governor said that would leave historic increases in K-12 education funding on the table along with $125 million to address groundwater contamination from PFAS chemicals.

“It would mean forfeiting one of the largest investments in state history in workforce housing, a $525 million investment in expanding access to affordable housing statewide, which is a critical starting point,” Evers said. “And it would mean turning our back on our justice system workforce, our state workforce, our tourism industry, our farmers and producers, and our veterans, among others.”

Evers signs state budget that cuts income taxes, boosts spending for K-12 education was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

6 thoughts on “Evers Signs Budget But Reduces Tax Cut”

  1. steenwyr says:

    Sad that Evers caved on the voucher school part of it too. Public school decline acceleration in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  2. Wardt01 says:

    “tax relief to working families who need help affording rising costs” = in our bottom bracket (said differently, this is a person working full time making $15 an hour) this results in a maximum tax cut of $5.52 on their tax return.

    ….I don’t think the Governor (or any other politician) should be too boisterous on that one.

  3. PVS49 says:

    Thank goodness Evers was comfortably reelected to act as a roadblock to the heavily gerrymandered republican legislature. Wothout his creative vetoes, we would be subjected to typical republican policies; tax breaks for the rich, less for education and health care, gut public transportation and starve the cities, et al. Good work Governor!👍

  4. Jhenry1131 says:

    Thank you Gov. Evers. Thank you for caring more for the people of Wisconsin than the politics in Wisconsin!

  5. Paul Trotter says:

    Now that the GOP has plenty of surplus money remaining because of the partial vetoes to the aburd tax cut bill sent to Ever’s desk they can go back to the drawing board and send a meaningful tax cut that provides significant tax relief to the bottom brackets and middle class and less to the wealthy. The weathy do not need the significant tax cuts proposed by the GOP ( far greater than any of the other tax brackets ) and to say they would uproot their families for lower taxes is absurd. Perhaps seniors might move to Florida – but that is turning into a hell hole seeing extremism from the Florida GOP on a whole different level than we see here but no doubt if the WIGOP had a chance they would do the same thing,
    Regarding Evers endless revenue to the schools – BRAVO –
    Now if Robin Vos and his merry band of yes men and women want to offset these property tax increases they can. Lots of surplus money to do this. But will they – that’s to be seen.

  6. Paul Trotter says:

    Completely agree PVS49
    Steenwry – Evers got the best deal he could in order to increase shared revenue to cities. I suspect there will be lawsuits challenging the punitive strings attached to the City of Milwaukee ‘s part of that shared revenue / sales tax law. The WIGOP continues to throw hate on the City of Milwaukee. Disgusting.

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