Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed the Republican-crafted state budget into law Wednesday after issuing 78 line-item vetoes and moving to increase school spending by around $65 million in the next two years.
The actions came after the GOP-controlled Legislature approved the $81 billion spending plan last week, sending it to the governor’s desk.
The version of the plan Republicans approved featured some $2 billion less in spending than what Evers originally requested, and it didn’t include measures such as accepting the Medicaid expansion, providing $1.4 billion more in education funding and raising the gas tax for the first time in more than a decade.
Still, Evers during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday credited his budget and administration for being able to “finally move the needle” in the GOP-controlled Legislature.
“But I have to make this clear: this budget is just a down payment on the people’s budget,” he said, as he pledged to continue pushing for the state to take the federal Medicaid expansion dollars.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, called Evers’ 78 vetoes “minimal” and said the GOP budget was “kept intact” for the most part.
“None of (the vetoes) jump out at me so significant that I think you can make the case that he really changed the document that we passed on the floor of the Senate last week,” he told reporters.