Governor Tony Evers says he doesn’t care who gets credit, for fixing the state’s unemployment insurance system.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature have insisted that the Democratic governor has all the necessary authority and revenue needed to modernize the Department of Workforce Development’s unemployment insurance system.
“He doesn’t need legislative approval,” Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said during a January 17 appearance on WKOW’s Capitol City Sunday. “It took us all of five minutes to understand that he has the authority and the revenue to complete this task now. He doesn’t need legislative approval.”
However, Politifact Wisconsin has found that funds available to the governor are not close to covering the estimated $90 million needed to complete the project, which would require funding over a series years. That means the Legislature will have to appropriate money in biennial budgets.
— PolitiFact Wisconsin (@PolitiFactWisc) February 3, 2021
Evers has now sent Republican leaders a letter urging immediate, bipartisan action on his proposal to modernize the system.
“My proposal to update our antiquated system to date has been met with the same continued inaction Wisconsinites have seen for years during previous administrations and more than a decades’ worth of state legislators that knew this system was outdated and failed to fix it,” wrote Gov. Evers in the letter. “And worse yet, it has also become the subject of partisan, political posturing and finger pointing unfitting of the severity of this problem and the urgency with which it must be addressed.”
Evers announced a special session of the legislature, to address the UI issues, during his State of the State address last month. Both chambers gaveled in and out of session, and took no action on his proposals.