WisOpinion Poll: Should the state constitution be amended to prevent governors from increasing spending with budget vetoes?

Two GOP lawmakers are circulating a proposed constitutional amendment that would further reign in the guv’s line-item veto authority after Gov. Tony Evers used that power to boost per-pupil state aid by $87 million in the budget.

Guvs typically can’t increase spending with their partial veto authority. But Evers used the line-item veto to increase the per-pupil aid, which Republicans had set at $679 in fiscal year 2019-20 and $704 the following year. The veto pushed the per-student payment to $742 in each year.

Because per-pupil aid is a sum sufficient appropriation, the Department of Public Instruction is authorized to spend whatever is necessary to meet the cost.

The amendment, proposed by Sen. David Craig, who voted against the budget, and fellow Republican Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, would prohibit guvs from increasing “state expenditures for any purpose over that provided in the enrolled bill.”

Past amendments have banned guvs from striking out individual letters — the so-called “Vanna White veto” — and creating a new sentence by stitching together parts of two or more sentences — dubbed the “Frankenstein veto.”

The amendment would have to clear both houses of the Legislature in back-to-back sessions before it could go to voters for a referendum.

See the proposed amendment here.

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