As expected, Governor Tony Evers on Thursday vetoed a package of Republican legislation that would have directed how the state would allocate $3.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money.
The Democratic governor also announced some $420 million of the federal funding coming to Wisconsin will fund a grant program to assist small businesses
“This money has to get out quickly,” Evers said during a press conference at a Wauwatosa small business. “It’s much more easy and direct if it’s not going through a hundred hands in the legislature, versus one administration that has done this several times already.”
The governor said about 84,000 businesses with annual gross revenues between $10,000 and $7 million could qualify, for awards of $5,000. More information on the Wisconsin Tomorrow program will come, after the U.S. Treasury provides more details about how the money is to be used.
“We have to make sure that we move forward, as soon as that money flows into our treasury, that it’s flowing right out to the businesses of our state.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other Republicans said they were disappointed that Evers vetoed their plans on how to spend the federal stimulus funding.
“It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing the governor vetoed these bills because he still hasn’t put forth a plan of his own on how to help Wisconsin with these relief funds,” Vos said in a joint statement. “I’m glad he announced help for small businesses, but where is the rest of the money? Making vague promises in a press release is not a plan and Wisconsin deserves transparency in this decision making process.”
“The governor just sent a clear message to the people of Wisconsin that they will have little to no say in how their federal tax dollars are spent,” said state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu. “He has, once again, rejected the opportunity to work with legislators on even a basic spending plan. This is not good government.”