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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Uses Partial Veto to Increase School Funding for 400 Years

'Republicans in the Legislature have failed to meet this historic moment, sending my budget back ... absent critical investments in key areas,' said Evers

Governor Tony Evers used authority granted to him by Wisconsin law to convert a two-year spending plan into a more than 400-year increase in school funding.

Wisconsin governors have the ability to partially veto any part of any budget bill, including altering numbers, works, and punctuation.

The state legislature had approved a $325 per pupil spending for K-12 public schools increase during the 2023-2024 and the 2024-25 school years. The additional funding is generated through property taxes and state aid.

Evers used his veto power to strike the second “20” and the second hyphen so that the per pupil spending increase is now scheduled to terminate in 2425. 

In a press release, the governor said he had used his “broad, constitutional veto authority” to invest more than $1 billion in public education. He called the biennial budget that the legislature had sent to him “imperfect and incomplete.” 

“We have gotten to work these last four years making smart, strategic investments—and our economy shows it,” said Evers in his statement. “So, we began this biennial budget process with historic opportunity, and with it, historic responsibility—not to be careless or reckless, but to save where we can and stay well within our means while still investing in needs that have long been neglected to protect the future we are working hard to build together.”

“Even as I am glad the Legislature joined me in making critical investments in several key areas, the fact remains that this budget, while now improved through strategic vetoes, remains imperfect and incomplete,” the Democrat continued. “In many ways, Republicans in the Legislature have failed to meet this historic moment, sending my budget back to my desk absent critical investments in key areas that they know—and publicly acknowledge—are essential to the success of our state, all while providing no real justification, substantive debate, or any meaningful alternative. That decision is, to put it simply, an abdication of duty.”

Evers previously served as Wisconsin’s Secretary of Education as well as a public school teacher. 

Republicans in Wisconsin denounced Evers and his veto, chiding the governor for not adhering to compromises reached during the preceding weeks of negotiations.

“After months of good faith negotiations on major budget items, it is unacceptable that he went back on his word and broke our agreement,” said Assembly Majority Leader Tyler August, per The Washington Examiner. “It will be difficult, if not impossible, to ever negotiate with this governor again in the future.”

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos warned allowing the spending increases to occur for several hundred years will spike property taxes. Republicans do not have enough seats in the state assembly to achieve an override of Evers’ veto without support from Democrats.

“Republicans proposed tapping nearly half of the state’s projected $7 billion budget surplus to cut income taxes across the board and reduce the number of brackets from four to three,” reports Fox News. “Evers kept all four brackets. The remaining $175 million in tax cuts over the next two years are directed to the lowest two tax rates, paid by households earning less than $36,840 a year or individuals who make less than $27,630. Wealthier payers will also benefit from the cuts but must continue to pay higher rates on income that exceeds those limits.”

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