Governor Evers to Raise Gas Tax, Increase School Funding, Roll Back Walker Proposals in State Budget

In his first budget proposal, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will increase Wisconsin’s minimum wage, raise the gas tax, provide new funding for schools and give income tax cuts to middle income families.

To pay for his priorities, Evers’ two-year spending plan which he calls the “People’s Budget,” would roll back part of a manufacturing and agriculture tax credit program, expand Medicaid, use much of the state surplus, raise fees in transportation and limit the long-term capital gains tax.

Evers introduced the budget proposal Thursday night in the state Assembly chambers, but many of the provisions are likely not to pass the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald had previously hinted that Republican leaders may create their own base budget if Evers includes proposals they do not agree with. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has called any plan that includes raising any income or sales taxes a “non-starter.”

State statutes require that Wisconsin have a balanced budget annually.  Evers’ budget increases spending by roughly $2 billion a year each year of the biennium from current spending, an increase of about 5 percent a year.

To pay for some of his priorities, Evers will spend down a surplus that is expected over the next two years. The state will enter the 2019 biennium with a $616 million surplus, and Evers budget would end the 2021 biennium with only $20 million. Evers’ administration said it will not spend any money from the state’s rainy day fund.