Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a capital budget Thursday that calls for $2.5 billion in new building projects around the state, an amount larger than any capital budget approved by former Gov. Scott Walker.
The state would borrow roughly $2 billion to pay for the budget, which includes more than $1 billion in new building projects throughout the University of Wisconsin System.
“This will be something that lots of people can find projects that they’ll appreciate,” said state Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan at a Wispolitics forum Thursday in Madison. Brennan said a backlog of building projects was part of the reason the capital budget would borrow so much more than it did in recent years.
“There’s so much of the stock of buildings at the university system that were built in the 50s and 60s and there is a lot of it that is getting beyond its usable life all at the same time,” Brennan said. “So I think there’s an opportunity there to make some investments that are not only doing things to make sure that we’re replacing buildings that are old but forward thinking and looking at where are we going in terms of economic development and workforce development in the state.”
Republicans said they were still reviewing Evers’ proposal, but at least a couple said they were concerned by the level of borrowing.
“Really sounds like the People’s Budget … so long as those people live inside the MSN/MKE bubble,” tweeted Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna.
“At a first glance, the level of spending and bonding is alarming,” said Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “We’ll continue to review the capital budget proposal and discuss it as a caucus moving forward, but Senate Republicans are committed to protecting hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers.”