State Legislature Approves State Budget, Sends to Governor Tony Evers

The state Legislature has approved and sent the next two-year state budget to Gov. Tony Evers. The plan would spend billions less than the governor proposed.

The state Senate approved the spending plan Wednesday night, about 24 hours after it was passed by the state Assembly on a mostly partisan vote. The vote was largely along party lines in the Senate too, with three Democrats voting in its favor: Sen. Janet Bewley from Mason, Sen. Brad Pfaff from Onalaska and Sen. Jeff Smith from Brunswick. After the session, state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, touted the passage of the most conservative budget in a generation.

The budget will move to Evers’ desk, where he could use his veto pen to make changes or veto the plan entirely.

The budget is the product of the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee, which made major changes to the spending plan proposed by the governor earlier this year. Overall, it would spend billions less than Evers called for and omit major proposals from the Democratic governor, including legalizing marijuana, expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage. It also includes a $3.4 billion tax cut the governor didn’t propose.

The governor hasn’t said whether he will sign or veto the budget. Evers has one of the most powerful veto pens in the country, with the ability to delete words, numbers and punctuation from the budget. For the last budget, he used his veto authority to increase school funding by about $65 million, along with about 75 other changes.