Gov Evers: Looking at temporary state gas tax holiday, using budget surplus to make up lost revenue

Gov Evers talks one on one with TMJ4's Charles Benson, worries drop box decision will impact voter turnout.
tony evers
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 24, 2022

Gas prices came off their record highs in Wisconsin but remain about a dollar higher from a year ago.

Republican lawmakers rejected Governor Evers' idea of raising the state gas tax about eight cents per gallon in exchange for getting rid of the minimum markup law on gas.

Evers told TMJ4 News he's now open to exploring a temporary state gas tax holiday - which is 31 cents a gallon.

"It would have to be temporary," said Evers. "We'd have to use the surplus that we have because we can't take money away from building and fixing roads. "

Evers has battled with Republican lawmakers on several issues, but he signed budgets that included $2 billion in Republican-backed tax cuts.

The former State Superintended of Public Instruction says the budgets also included his priorities to increase K-12 spending, "we've had the highest increase in funding for public schools ever."

Evers believes the state is in a better position to rebound from the pandemic because of his efforts to deploy federal relief tax dollars to small businesses across the state.

The state's unemployment rate remains at near record lows at 2.9% in June.

"Almost a billion dollars in small businesses, tourism, tourism industry, farmers, bars and restaurants," said Evers. "As a result of that investment, we are number one in the country as far as our spending money on businesses as it relates to the percentage of federal funds that we receive."

Evers says it was a "horrible" decision by U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.

The decision means Wisconsin's pre-civil war law prevents abortion in almost all cases except if a mother's life is at risk.

Evers is promising clemency for any doctor convicted under the 1849 law and he supports Attorney General Josh Kaul's lawsuit to block the law, but for now, there's little he can do to change the state law.

Evers: The Planned Parenthood in Illinois, now has, over the last few weeks, 10 times the number of Wisconsin women that they usually see.

Benson: Let me ask you about that. Is there any role that your administration is playing in that? Is there anything the state is doing to do to help?

"We've worked with Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, to make sure that those services are available, use any of our money, but we're just you know, we're encouraging that to happen," Evers said.

This year Governor Evers set a record with his veto pen - pushing back on 98 bills.

"We vetoed laws that would have made it more difficult for women to exercise their right to have reproductive health. We vetoed all of those. We vetoed bills that would make it more difficult for people to vote."

But Evers worries the recent state Supreme Court's decision that the use of drop boxes was not authorized under state law will impact voter turnout.

Benson: Do you think this will create a disadvantage for voters this fall?

"It's a problem. When people make it more, make it more difficult for people to vote, that's a step in the wrong direction. They were used significantly and safely. There was no fraud as it related to the use of the use of those boxes, those drop boxes. That's the problem," Evers said. " I do anticipate that it's going to be it'll depress the vote somewhat. But we know we know early enough we're going to do whatever we can to make sure that people understand what's happening, and how they can overcome that probability."

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