Evers says he vetoed Tesla budget provision because it was earmark, ‘payoff’ to win vote

Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

Gov. Tony Evers says he vetoed a provision that would’ve allowed electric car manufacturer Tesla to sell directly to consumers instead of through dealers as part of a broader goal of eliminating earmarks from the budget and because it was a “payoff” to get a vote.

“It was one of many earmarks; We tried to catch as many as we could,” Evers said Monday. “And it was an earmark, and frankly, it was a payoff to get a vote to get the budget passed. But most importantly, it was an earmark and we decided that wasn’t worth having in the budget.”

The provision was added as Republicans sought to secure the vote of Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, who has pushed a similar proposal in past legislation. Kapenga owns a business that refurbishes Teslas and sells parts for the cars but has said the business is a hobby and he doesn’t profit from it.

Kapenga’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Evers’ suggestion.

Evers also said he’s confident his partial vetoes are valid and will stand.

Evers made his comments to reporters after signing a bill in Milwaukee that would allow electric scooters to be operated on roadways, sidewalks and bike paths in the state while allowing municipalities to regulate their use.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who joined Evers at the event, said the Milwaukee Common Council was to take up a measure today that would establish a pilot program for companies wanting to offer scooters for rent in the city.

See a release from Evers on the scooter bill here.

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