Governor Evers Delivers Tone of Compromise, Budget Priorities in State of State Speech

Governor Tony Evers delivered his first State of the State address Tuesday evening focusing on a handful of campaign pledges including boosting school funding, fixing transportation, and expanding health care.

Evers pitched to return to two-thirds funding for schools and urged legislation to address the state’s achievement gap for low-income students.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald called it a “stretch.” Republican Senator Alberta Darling and others in her caucus do support restoring two-thirds funding but want to find what she calls appropriate ways to pay for it. “He has a lot of good ideas that we’d like to do,” said Sen. Darling. “The issue is how are we going to pay for it?”

Evers also stressed he’ll seek to expand Medicaid in his budget, citing the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau who projects it could provide health care coverage for an additional 76,000 Wisconsinites.

Fitzgerald said Evers should “give up” on plans to include it in his budget.

“All we’re going to do is end up in a situation where it’s going to be logger-heads and will have to continue to negotiation, but he can’t balance his budget on the Medicaid number, it’s not going to work,” said Fitzgerald.

Evers said soon he will launch a task force with stakeholders and feedback from voters to form a bipartisan solution to funding transportation and infrastructure.

“I know that caucus members in both houses support different approaches to solving our transportation funding crisis, it’s going to take sacrifices and compromises to find a long-term, comprehensive solution that works for everyone,” said Evers.