Earlier today, Gov. Tony Evers signed the GOP-crafted, $82 billion state budget bill – but not before he issued 78 partial vetoes to significantly modify parts of the two-year spending plan. Evers said he considered vetoing the entire budget as it fell short in meeting his key objectives, but ultimately decided to sign the legislation in the spirit of bipartisanship and because he believes the bill is a step in the right direction.
As far as issues important to WEDA and economic development, Evers’ vetoes will not have much impact. Please see below a brief overview of economic development-related vetoes:
- Modified the budget provision to provide $25 million for a grant program to allows municipalities and counties to apply to the State Building Commission for grant funding on behalf of private organizations for certain construction projects. Under the partial veto, the funding can only be used for projects with a public purpose. The Governor further recommended that $22 million of the funding be used to build a youth correctional facility.
- Eliminated the budget provision to require DOT to conduct a study on the viability of tolling or a mileage-based fee as a sustainable source of transportation revenue.
- Reduced funding under the budget provision that provided one-time funding of $90 million from the state’s general fund for local transportation projects. Under the partial veto, the funding was reduced by $15 million (to $75 million) and DOT is provided greater flexibility in allocating the funds.
- Elimiated the budget provision that required WEDC to allocate $1 million over the biennium for the school fabrication laboratories grant program. In his veto message, Evers comments on the benefits of the Fab Lab program, but says the program would be “more appropriately administered with other educational grant programs.” He also points out WEDC could make the allocation without legislative directive.
CLICK HERE to read the Governor’s full veto message.