by Benjamin Yount
Wisconsin’s governor says he wants to provide local governments with more state money next year. But he’s not saying how he plans to convince Republican lawmakers to go along.
During a series of interviews and appearances this week, Gov. Tony Evers reiterated that increasing shared revenue is one of his top priorities in the New Year.
“We have to increase shared revenue. Simple as that,” the governor said Tuesday during an event at the Milwaukee Press Club. “There’s only so much [local governments] can do without money.”
Wisconsin shares about $1 billion in state tax money with local governments in each state budget. The trouble is, local governments say, is that shared revenue has been about $1 billion for several years.
The governor said he wants to increase shared revenue by 10% over the next two years.
“That’s going to be a significant, significant increase, considering they got zero percent over the years prior to that,” Evers said.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said earlier this month that he is willing to look at shared revenue, but wants commitments from local governments that it won’t simply be a blank check.
“I need to see what the reforms will be, not just the revenues,” said at the time.
The governor, this week, said he’s leery about certain reforms.
Evers distanced himself from a Republican suggestion to tie new shared revenue to the state’s sales tax, and he declared a flat income tax dead on arrival.
The governor is set to deliver his budget proposal in February.
Republican lawmakers actually control the budget-making process, and are expected to reject most of what the governor wants.
So it remains to be seen what will happen with shared revenues, reforms, and any cooperation between lawmakers and the governor in the new year.
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