Rep. Gary Hebl, (608) 266-7678

(MADISON) – Tonight Governor Evers stood before a joint session of the legislature and laid out his legislative priorities in his first budget address. Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie), released the following statement in response:

Governor Evers and Lieutenant Governor Barnes traveled the state listening to the concerns of people all across Wisconsin. Their budget includes proposals that enjoy broad support, such as increased funding for public education, non-partisan redistricting, steps towards raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and closing tax loopholes that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than lower- and middle-class Wisconsinites.

These proposals ought to have broad bipartisan support in the legislature. I suspect that because of their close ties to wealthy donors as well as their need to assert their power, Republicans in the legislature will find any excuse, however weak or unpopular, to object to many of these proposals. But it is time to put politics aside. There is no need for them to make a spectacle of the budget process by flexing their political muscle simply because they want to. What matters is doing what is best for the people of Wisconsin.

This leaves Wisconsin Republicans with a choice. Will they continue to be dismissive of Governor Evers, to cater to wealthy special interests, and to pursue an unpopular agenda? Or will they be willing to talk with members across the aisle and compromise on issues, even ones they may be hesitant to embrace?

I hope it will be the latter. People in Wisconsin are tired of the constant posturing and political games. They want real solutions for the issues facing us today, and tonight Governor Evers laid out a clear agenda that will move Wisconsin forward. I call on all members of the Wisconsin Legislature, Republicans and Democrats alike, to put aside partisan differences and work together to do what is right for our constituents.

The state budget is a reflection of the needs and values of our communities and our state as a whole. It is refreshing to see a budget that puts Wisconsin’s interests over political ambitions. In years past, the budget has been used as a tool to posture for another re-election campaign; it seems clear that Governor Evers is shifting this practice in favor of a budget that puts Wisconsin and its citizens first.

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