MILWAUKEE (AP/TMJ4 NEWS) — Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a bill that would have given Republican legislators oversight of federal COVID-19 relief funds.
The governor vetoed the bill during a news conference at a Milwaukee cafe on Monday morning.
Senate Bill 183 would have required legislative approval to use billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.
Gov. Evers believes the bill would have slowed Wisconsin’s recovery, especially for small businesses.
“This could have been wrapped up into one person making an objection in the Joint Finance Committee, and set it back for weeks," Evers said.
In all, Wisconsin is expected to receive about $5 billion from the latest federal stimulus package, signed by President Joe Biden. About $2 billion will automatically go to cities across the state, through a federal formula. That leaves about $3 billion to decide where it should go to help our state rebound.
“We’re able to move fast without the political huffing and puffing,” Evers said.
Evers says the federal stimulus money will be given out the same way it has in the last two federal stimulus rounds. He pointed to how the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has worked to release about $379 million to small businesses since the start of this pandemic.
“They did a great job getting to over 15,000 small businesses in the state, and they’ll continue to do that. We have a good system set up and well follow those same procedures," the governor said.
Along with helping small businesses, the governor says the stimulus money may also go to rent assistance, after-school programs, expanding high-speed internet access and propping up our state’s struggling tourism industry.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses in Wisconsin make up 99.4 percent of all businesses in our state as a whole. More than 450,000 small businesses employ 1.3 million people. That’s nearly half of all workers in the Badger State.