Gov. Tony Evers says he’s leaning toward vetoing a GOP bill that would cut off enhanced federal unemployment benefits of $300 a week.
“I’ll take a look at it but certainly leaning that way,” he said on UpFront, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “The bill is based on who knows? There isn’t data to support this. This is something we’re seeing all across the country.”
Trade associations and chambers of commerce across Wisconsin have sent Evers letters asking him to drop the benefit. UpFront host Adrienne Pedersen asked what specific evidence he wants.
“How many people are sitting at home when they should be working and getting $300 and being lazy?” Evers said. “There’s no data to say this is going to fill 20 jobs or 20,000 jobs. I’m reluctant to take a very important benefit away from people there’s no data to support.”
Evers did say phasing out the benefit would be a “possibility, but the system we’re working with is pretty ancient and it would take a period of time just to go from 300 to 225 to 125 and so on. I prefer letting it run out at the federal level and let’s move on.”
The benefit, which is on top of the maximum weekly payment of $370, is due to run out in early September.
During the wide-ranging interview, Pedersen asked Evers if he would consider a tax cut with the additional $4.4 billion the state is now expected to take in through tax collections by mid-2023.
“I’d be glad to talk tax cuts, but first we gotta fix the darn budget.” Evers said.
“To be honest with you, $4 billion in tax cuts would go a long way obviously, but what happens next year when that 4 billion isn’t there? Or the year after? We have to be thoughtful. It’s not just it came in, let’s throw it out the door.”
As Wisconsin’s vaccination rate stalls and President Biden has a goal of getting 70 percent of Americans at least partially vaccinated, Evers said he thinks Wisconsin will be at about 60 percent by July 4.
As of Friday, 43.8 percent of Wisconsinites had completed the vaccine series, while 48.9 percent had received at least one shot.
“We’re still working at it,” Evers said.
The guv said his administration is encouraging businesses to contact the state to have vaccines administered in the workplace as one way to reach people.
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