WHITEFISH BAY — Gov. Tony Evers signed the Republican-written state budget, enacting a spending plan that includes a $2 billion income tax cut — one of the largest in Wisconsin state history.
Evers promised in his 2018 campaign to cut taxes for middle-class families by 10%, and delivered on that Thursday. He also announced more than $100 million in new funding for public schools, on top of other investments included in the budget.
“In many ways, this budget presents a false choice between the priorities the people this state care about and deserve,” said Gov. Evers. “But after a long eight years of politicians making decisions for all the wrong reasons, I ran to be the governor of this state and promised I would always put people before politics—that I would always try to do the right thing, that I would work to find common ground, and that I would make decisions based on what’s best for our kids and our state."
“I made a promise when I ran for governor—I promised I would cut taxes for middle-class families by 10 percent. Today, I am keeping my word,” Gov. Evers continued. “This morning, I’m providing more than $2 billion in tax relief and cutting taxes for middle-class families at a time when our economy and families need it most.”
Evers opted to go along with the GOP-written budget with some changes through his vetoes rather than killing the entire plan, a move that would have put $2.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding for K-12 schools in jeopardy.
That money only comes to the state if funding for schools increases enough to meet federal requirements, which the budget as signed would do.
Republicans were quick to criticize Gov. Evers for taking credit for the tax cut.
In a statement, the Republican Party of Wisconsin said:
“Tony Evers tried to raise taxes by $1 billion in his proposed budget, so it is laughable that he is now taking credit for Republicans’ tax cut. We applaud Wisconsin Republicans for putting forward a historic budget with transformative tax cuts that will put more money in the pockets of Wisconsin families despite Tony Evers’ tax increase in his proposed budget."
The Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance, Representative Mark Born and Senator Howard Marklein, released a joint statement saying:
“Once again, Republicans in the legislature have led the way and sent Governor Evers a common-sense budget that invests in priorities and puts more money back into the hands of families. It is laughable that the Governor is now taking credit for cutting taxes. Just six months ago, the Governor wanted $1 billion in tax INCREASES. Even though the Governor used his veto pen to make some significant changes, he ultimately had no choice but to sign the Republican legislature’s budget which leads Wisconsin into the next biennium.”
The governor responded to the criticism saying he could have vetoed that part of the budget, but kept it instead.
The signed budget includes providing two-thirds funding for schools and $2 million for grants to law enforcement to buy body cameras.
It also includes 50 vetoes on a wide range of specific projects and directives including drug testing for unemployment insurance purposes.
Read Gov. Evers' announcement below: