Republican lawmakers plan to remove hundreds of proposals from Gov. Tony Evers’ state budget next week, from an expansion of Medicaid to the legalization of marijuana to the partial restoration of public sector union bargaining rights.
The move is the first step — and a big one — toward rewriting the budget from the ground up, something GOP leaders have been hinting at since the Governor introduced his budget in February.
While many of the biggest financial decisions are yet to be resolved, the plan Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee hope to pass Thursday will remove hundreds of Evers priorities from the budget. Many of those items will substantially reduce the amount of money lawmakers have to spend in the budget for the next two years.
For example, the expansion of Medicaid would bring the state an influx of $1.6 billion in federal funding. And the legalization of recreational marijuana was projected to generate $165 million.
While hardly unexpected, other sources of new revenue would also be wiped out. They include Evers’ proposal to reduce a tax break for capital gains, which was projected to generate an estimated $350 million. They also include his plan to scale back a tax break for manufacturers, which would generate an estimated $488 million.
The list of items up for removal also includes a wide array of policy ideas, from Evers’ call for automatic voter registration to a proposal for nonpartisan redistricting. Evers’ plan to raise the minimum wage would also be gone.
While the proposals could in theory be restored later in the budget-writing process, many if not most will face an uphill battle with Republicans who followed a similar process two years ago.