MADISON (WKOW) — Push-back to Governor Evers’ $83.4 billion biennium budget was immediate. Republican leadership noted several non-starters with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald saying Republicans would have to create their own budget.
As Speaker Robin Vos closed the assembly after the governor stepped off the podium, he said, “Thank God we’re out of here.”
At a press conference just around the corner from the assembly chamber, Republican leadership including Sen. Alberta Darling said the governor’s budget puts the state on the wrong track.
“People are saying, Wisconsin, we are on the right track,” said Sen. Alberta Darling. “We set the target to reform the state, to get on the right track, to grow the economy, and we’re on the right track. This dismantles that track.”
Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Governor Evers’ budget was a missed opportunity to work together as a unified government.
“After listening to the governor’s budget address this evening, [I’m] certainly disappointed,” said Fitzgerald. “To me, it’s a thousand-page press release, not a budget.”
The 592-page budget spells out Governor Evers’s visions for education, transportation, and criminal justice reform, among other topics.
Republicans say they hope to find common ground on things like cutting taxes for middle-income families and expansion of rural broadband services. However, they can’t agree on how to fund it all and Vos is against raising taxes.
“It’s not like there’s some problem with not having enough revenue. The problem with Tony Evers’ budget is it just spends too much. It spends way more than Wisconsin can afford,” said Vos.
“There was a complete disregard this evening for whether we could get the votes or momentum to actually get a budget done in this fashion. It’s just been completely thrown out the window at this point,” added Fitzgerald. “It’s not going to happen.”
“It’s not a people’s budget,” added Darling.
Representative John Nygren said there were plenty of non-starters in the budget, but he hopes both sides could work to find things they agree on.
Lawmakers have until July 1st to have a completed budget, but with the next few months headed for heated political divisiveness, it’s likely the state government could miss that deadline.