MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos suggests he could consider even more tax cuts, besides the more than $2 billion Governor Tony Evers signed July 8.
The comments come ahead of debate between the Republican legislature and the Democratic governor over what to do with $550 million the governor left in the general fund.
Republicans planned to send the $550 million to the state’s rainy day fund, called the budget stabilization fund, but instead Democratic Governor Tony Evers used his partial veto to put that money in the general fund.
"I object to making these funds unavailable for supporting the needs of Wisconsinites that the Legislature failed to address. The balance of the budget stabilization fund is reserved for periods of below-normal economic activity when actual state revenues are lower than estimated revenues," Evers wrote to lawmakers.
Gov. Tony Evers
But Gov. Evers will need to convince the Wisconsin Legislature in order to use that money.
"This budget leaves much unfinished business, and there is always more work to do," Evers said on the day he signed the budget. "In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to engage the Legislature to use the state resources that are yet available to further invest in these priorities, and I hope the Legislature will join me in this important work so that we can continue our important work so that we can continue our state’s economic recovery."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Speaker Robin Vos says Wisconsin schools are already getting enough through the state budget and billions in federal COVID-19 aid. "There is a huge amount of resources that are going to K-12 education, so Gov. Evers is just plain wrong. If you look at the facts, it’s the largest per-pupil spending increase in our state’s history."
"I’m proud of the funding we provided to schools," added Vos. "It’s not going to go up, but I am certainly looking at the possibility that now the money is in the bottom line, perhaps we can even do another tax cut."
Elmbrook School Board Treasurer Glen Allgaier says the federal money is for COVID-related expenses and he says his district needs more state funds.
"Just like any company, we're faced with inflationary increases; 1.5 to 2% a year in the last five years," Allgaier. "We have to cover those, so over the next two years, we’ll be faced with having to reduce our total budget by $4 million."
"It’s extraordinary," added Allgaier. "We are in a year of surplus, and following the governor’s veto, as I best understand it, there is more than sufficient money to provide what has historically been provided in terms of inflationary increases."
Republicans defended the budget they authored and the governor signed.
"Education is getting more money than they ever had in Wisconsin history," Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) said the day the Senate approved the budget. "The amount of federal dollars is jaw-dropping. It’s really a district-by-district conversation because I think there are a few districts that could have a case that we could do a little more in the future, but there’s other districts that are so flush in cash, they’re going to have trouble spending it all."
Without agreement on how to spend the $550 million the governor left in the general fund, that money will sit in the state's general fund.