Governor Scott Walker will sign the state budget Thursday afternoon, but he’s already detailing what in the $76 billion spending plan he will veto.
The governor on Wednesday released a list of 99 vetoes he plans to make to the budget. It includes several he already agreed to in order to help get the bill through the state Senate last week – such as moving up the start date of a prevailing wage repeal and changes to restrictions on school district referendums. Dozens more will be made though, and some are already drawing criticism from Republicans.
They include the removal of a provision that would have allowed low-spending school districts to raise property taxes, if they spend less than the state average per student. Walker said he was vetoing the provision because it could result in a “substantial increase in property tax capacity” without voter approval.
Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), who co-chairs the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, said he was “severely disappointed” in the governor’s decision to remove the provision from the budget, which he believes would address a long-term inequity in K-12 education funding. “As a result of this veto, low revenue school districts will continue to be required to meet their constitutional educational obligations with less resources than neighboring districts; a funding inequity that has existed for over 20 years,” Nygren argued.
Other vetoes Walker plans to make include scaling back the size of a tax credits for historic rehabilitation projects, cutting five positions that would have been added to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and removing legislative oversight of bonding for transportation projects tied a proposed Foxconn factory in southeastern Wisconsin. “By depriving the Joint Committee on Finance of a passive review, we are continuing to deny the Wisconsin taxpayer a responsible and accountable transportation fund,” Nygren said.
Walker will sign the budget Thursday at an elementary school in Neenah.