Governor Feuds with Republican Lawmakers over State Surplus

Wisconsin looks to be headed for a showdown over how to spend some of the state’s expected $620 million budget surplus.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday proposed spending $252 million of that surplus on public schools in the state.

The governor wants to earmark nearly $80 million for special education reimbursement, then promise to cover 100 percent of special ed costs beyond that. He’s also proposing $130 million equalization aid. 

The governor also wants to spend more on school mental health and wellness programs as well as hire more school counselors, psychologists and nurses. 

Top Republican lawmakers in Madison aren’t so sure bipartisan support exists for the governor’s proposal. 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, took to Twitter after the governor’s announcement to say it looks like Gov. Evers is interested in adding more people to school payrolls as much as anything. 

“Senate Republicans have been focused since late last year on using our surplus for a tax cut for hard-working families, and the governor knows that. I don’t see us budging off that position,” Fitzgerald tweeted. “It appears that the teachers’ unions are the ones calling all the shots in the East Wing.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester echoed the same thought. 

Both Vos and Fitzgerald say they would rather return any extra money to taxpayers.