Read it: Reaction to Governor Evers’ budget proposal

Governor Tony Evers

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday, Feb. 28 unveiled his first two-year budget proposal.

Below is reaction to the governor’s address:

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

“Glad to see the governor’s budget includes much needed resources to support the criminal justice system. By adequately funding the state crime labs, allocating resources for more prosecutors, and increasing funding for treatment and diversion programs, we can make Wisconsin safer.”

Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee)

“Tonight, Governor Evers laid out a budget blueprint that finally puts the people of Wisconsin first. Under the failed leadership of the former administration, we could only watch while Scott Walker and Republicans cut necessary funding for our state and citizens while prioritizing the whims of wealthy corporations, growing poverty & the prison population exploding. For too many years, Republicans failed to adequately fund critical investments in education, health care and infrastructure all while ignoring the needs of everyday Wisconsinites.”

In his first budget address, Gov. Evers outlined a welcome and ambitious plan to not only pursue the measures outlined above, but to also legalize medicinal marijuana, provide tax relief to middle-class families, allow undocumented people access to formal identification, ensure clean drinking water for the people of Wisconsin, and take partisanship out of the redistricting process.

“I was especially pleased to see Gov. Evers’ commitment to properly fund education at two-thirds in his budget. We can lead the Federal Government to match us and recommit two-thirds funding for the whole country. While this budget is likely going to be the subject of much debate, ensuring our children’s education futures should be a point of bipartisan agreement from a Governor that was the former State Superintendent of Public Schools. I sincerely hope that my Republican colleagues can agree that the Education section of the budget should be agreed to in full.

“I look forward to working with Governor Evers, his Administration and all members of the legislature to make this budget a reality. Together, we can embody ‘What’s best for our kids is what’s best for our State.’”

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee)

“I was incredibly pleased tonight to hear Governor Evers lay out a positive vision to move Wisconsin forward. For too long, many Wisconsin citizens have been neglected or ignored, and this budget provides a blueprint to correct that track record. As Governor Evers said, this budget is about putting the people of Wisconsin first, and that is why I was most encouraged to hear the Governor’s plans to end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin by giving redistricting authority to the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau.”

The plan proposed by Gov. Evers would create a five-member non-partisan commission to redraw legislative maps during the post-census redistricting process. Currently, that power is held by the Legislature, which has historically redrawn maps to benefit the party in power at the time of redistricting. Earlier this year, a Marquette University poll found that 72% of Wisconsinites were in favor of turning responsibility for redistricting over to a non-partisan body.

“Wisconsin is the poster child for hyper-partisan gerrymandering, and, until that changes, our democracy will continue to suffer for it. The people of Wisconsin are smart enough to choose their elected officials themselves without sitting legislators forcing their hand. I am glad to hear that Governor Evers understands that, and I hope that my fellow legislators can come together to move this important initiative forward.”

Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee)

“Governor Evers’ budget proposal is truly making good on his promise of a new way forward for Wisconsin. It’s been a long time since I have heard a budget address that actually responded to the priorities that matter to the people of Wisconsin.

“First, I applaud Governor Evers’ and his dedication to public education. A core principle in any Democratic society is public education and all of Wisconsin’s young people deserve an excellent education that sets them up on a path to success. Tonight, we witnessed a first step to addressing Wisconsin’s immoral racial and economic educational disparities.

“Equally important to insuring educational equity in Wisconsin, is ensuring improved police and community relations within our communities of color. Governor Tony Evers understands this and I applaud the $2 million that he is including in his first budget to help fix the broken relationship that exists between the police and communities of color throughout our state.

“Another issue that is not only personal to me but I have personally been working on is voter disenfranchisement. Governor Evers understands the detriment that this causes to democracy and automatic voter registration is a key solution to solving this ever growing issue here in Wisconsin. Enfranchisement has always been a precarious right for Black people not only in Wisconsin but throughout the United States. Automatic voter registration will ensure that all Wisconsin voices are heard will help enshrine that the right to vote is extended to all American’s, no matter race, creed, or color.

“Finally, I am particularly supportive of the Governor’s plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. For far too long, people of color in Wisconsin have been disproportionately affected by senseless punishments for low-level drug crimes. Decriminalization is an important step to ensure that no longer are our young black men and women locked up for crimes that serve no purpose in protecting the public.

“It is a new day in Wisconsin. I am excited to begin the hard work of passing the Governor’s budget, and look forward to working with him in the months to come.”

Milwaukee Area Labor Council

“The members of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council welcome the many initiatives announced by Governor Tony Evers as part of his budget proposal.  There are many serious issues that need addressing in our state, and the plans to increase access to affordable health care as well as increased funding for K-12 education, technical college and UW system fulfill campaign promises.

We are appreciative that this budget acknowledges the important role organized labor plays in benefiting workers. Repealing Right to Work is absolutely the right thing to do for a state that wants to grow its economy.  Research shows that in states with so-called Right to Work laws, workers actually earn less money, not more.  After 8 years of demonization of the union movement by state leaders, we applaud this administration’s support for the organizations that look out for the average worker.

Raising the state’s minimum wage and eventually indexing it to inflation is a policy idea that is long overdue in Wisconsin.  Government is standing up for workers when it seeks to ensure that they can afford housing and other basic necessities for their families.

In addition, we believe that restoring the prevailing wage standard will help create a level playing field for bidders on public projects, as the standard ensures that project budgets are not balanced on the backs of the workers, but in fair competition on quality.

With these budget proposals amongst others, we can see the manner in which Governor Evers and his administration is seeking to help shape the Wisconsin economy for shared prosperity and long-term success.”

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor

“As a lifelong educator, I applaud Governor Evers’ budget proposal. It makes historic investments in public education and advances student equity. The governor’s unprecedented support for special education, student mental health, and English learners, coupled with his commitment to reforming our broken school finance system and restoring two-thirds school funding, will provide our schools and educators the resources to help meet the needs of every child.

“I further commend Governor Evers for investing in children and youth across all areas of his budget. What happens outside of school affects students in school. We need to work together, and beyond the school doors, to ensure every student graduates college and career ready.

“I look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to pass a budget that provides the resources every student needs.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin: 

“Tony Evers inherited one of the strongest economies our state has ever seen. Thanks to eight years of Republican leadership, Wisconsin currently has historically low unemployment, record budget surpluses, and more people working in our state than ever before. Wisconsin has come so far from the days of double-digit tax increases, record job loss, and billion-dollar budget deficits.”

“Yet tonight, Governor Evers put forward a budget proposal that threatens to undo all of that – a proposal brimming with massive spending increases, tax hikes, and reckless, hyper-partisan proposals. Rather than responsibly fund the priorities of our state, Evers elected instead to score political points with his far-left base, all while gambling the fate of Wisconsin’s future. The dangers of Evers’ plan are clear because we’ve seen this type of proposal before. It’s the same liberal tax-and-spend agenda that has led us astray in the past.”

“Governor Evers was given a real opportunity to move our state forward, to grow our economy, and to show that he cares about Wisconsin’s hard-working families. Instead, Evers chose to prioritize the interests of his special-interest allies and put us on a dangerous path backwards.”

Madison–Co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance, Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) released the following statement after Governor Evers’ Budget Address:

“Wisconsin can’t afford Tony Evers budget. He’s spending our record surplus and billions more. His budget increases spending by $1,000 for every resident in the state, raises taxes, and eliminates the reforms that worked over the last eight years. Governor Evers is digging another hole that Republicans will again have to fill.

It’s important to point out that the reason Wisconsin is in such great shape financially is because of the responsible budgeting of Republicans. If Governor Evers is serious about passing a bi-partisan budget, he needs to get serious about including us in the process.

While we are willing to work with the governor, we won’t let him take us back to the dark days of 2009. Republicans in the legislature have set the stage for a great budget, but Governor Evers is jeopardizing the continued surpluses, increased revenues, historic tax cuts, and expanded economic opportunity created by making fiscally responsible decisions. Some of those decisions were not easy, but they worked.

We have concerns that we can’t afford the Governor’s wish list and its long-term effect on our finances. Our next step is a thorough review of the Governor’s budget by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

We look forward to travelling around the state to help craft a budget that works for all of Wisconsin.”

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