Dem Gov. Tony Evers said it’s “too early” to make a decision on what to do with millions of dollars in additional tax revenue the state is projected to take in.
In an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com, Evers said there are too many “unknowns,” including what the bill will be for Foxconn. Evers said it’s “way too early to make any judgments.”
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau last week said after contributions to the rainy day fund, state policymakers would have about $450 million more available than originally projected at the end of its current two-year budget. Savings from lower-than-expected subsidies to Foxconn could push that higher.
Republicans quickly started talking about tax cuts, and Dems talked about other spending priorities. But Evers said he wanted to take a cautious, wait-and-see approach.
“I’m cautious. I’m conservative about waiting,” he said. “That’s what I think we should be doing.”
Evers said he would be open to discussions about the extra revenue.
“But I am not open to one-time expenditures of money that we know it’s going to be an ongoing issue,” he said.
Evers expressed optimism Dems and Republicans could work together on a series of bills he proposed to help struggling Wisconsin dairy farmers.
“I think we’re in a good place. I think we’ll get some of this legislation done and maybe some good bipartisan work,” he said.
“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked him about his relationship with Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of the Legislature.
“I think it’s OK. We have meetings, we talk, and you know, we … they talk about what they are trying to accomplish. I’m trying to do the same thing,” Evers said. “But at the end of the day, they are going to do what they want to do, and I need to do what I need to do.”
In his State of the State, Evers called for a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw new electoral maps. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos dismissed that as a “fake, phony, partisan process.”
Evers told “UpFront” he did not expect maps drawn by citizens on the commission to become “the law of the land.”
“What we’re doing is giving people an opportunity to express their interest in this topic and truly draw nonpartisan maps,” he said.
Evers said he expects the next round of maps, which will come from the Legislature after the 2020 census, to be gerrymandered.
“I have a chance to support or veto,” he said. “If I decide to veto it, there’s some other alternatives there for people to talk about. I think it’s a good experiment in democracy, frankly.”
Pedersen also asked Evers about Republican reaction to the “homework” assignment he recently suggested in a letter to state lawmakers. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald called it “condescending.”
“It’s just me trying to express myself in a teacher’s voice,” said Evers, who was the state superintendent of schools before being elected governor. “I would say it’s an overreaction, but that happens. It’s politics. People get it.”
See more from the program: