As the legislative session enters its final weeks, Governor Tony Evers seems to think calling the Republican led Senate and Assembly into special session can be an effective policy tool. He wants to do it again, this time to allocate money from a projected revenue surplus for K-12 education.
“The proposal I’m announcing today will invest $250 million, which includes increased funding for school based mental health services, and special education aid,” Evers said during a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday. He said that new funding would restore the state’s previous “two-thirds commitment” funding formula for public schools, which fell by the wayside more than ten years ago due to state budget constraints.
Every kid deserves access to high-quality, public education regardless of their identity, economic status, or zip code. Today I called for a special session of the Legislature to take up a proposal that invests $250 million in our kids and schools across our state. pic.twitter.com/z4nSVC0HIB
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 6, 2020
He also wants to invest $10 million towards sparsity aid for rural districts. Eves said all this is a needed reinvestment. “That reinvestment will help districts get out from under of going to referendum every two years,” Evers said. The governor did not take questions following his remarks.
Republican legislative leaders were quick to indicate their lack of support for Evers’ proposals. “Every time the state has surplus revenue, Republicans look for ways to return that money to taxpayers. Democrats keep looking for ways to spend your money,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Every time the state has surplus revenue, Republicans look for ways to return that money to taxpayers. Democrats keep looking for ways to spend your money.
— Scott Fitzgerald (@SenFitzgerald) February 6, 2020
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when there’s a surplus, Republicans look to return those dollars to the hardworking taxpayers of the state” tweeted Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. “Democrats are fixated on growing the size of government, which they know we won’t do.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when there’s a surplus, Republicans look to return those dollars to the hardworking taxpayers of the state. Democrats are fixated on growing the size of government, which they know we won’t do.
— Speaker Robin Vos (@SpeakerVos) February 6, 2020
State government is expected to see $452 million more in the general fund to end the biennium than previously projected, according to figures released last month by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Evers’ Executive Order directs the legislature to meet in special session next Tuesday, February 11. Lawmakers are not obligated to meet on that date.