|Budget proposal will include an eight percent increase for shared revenue over the biennium, additional $10 million for EMS, police, and fire|
|Governor directs federal funds to support Wisconsin State Patrol and campus police departments, commits to additional positions for State Patrol in next biennial budget|
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced initiatives in his 2023-25 biennial budget proposal aimed at providing local governments with the resources needed to support public safety and community priorities, as well as additional investments in state law enforcement. The announcement includes an investment of $91.4 million to increase shared revenue, an increase of four percent in each year of the biennium over current levels, to help local governments fund essential services in counties and municipalities across the state. Additionally, Gov. Evers’ proposal includes a new $10 million shared revenue public safety supplement to help specifically address EMS, police, and fire costs.
“Time and again, I’ve worked to increase funding for shared revenue to help local governments fund important services, including our local police officers, firefighters, and EMS providers, and time and again, the Republicans in the Legislature have refused,” said Gov. Evers. “For the last decade, Republicans have forced communities and local partners to do more with less as costs for public services have gone up while state aid has been cut or held flat.
“If we want to make sure we’re building safe, strong communities, then we need to invest in our folks at the local level who are doing the work on the ground and who know best what their communities need to be safe and successful,” continued Gov. Evers. “I’ve been proud to make critical investments in public safety and crime and violence prevention over the past year as we work to ensure we have long-term, ongoing funding to support local communities and public safety needs.”
The announcement builds on Gov. Evers’ previous efforts to increase shared revenue for local governments so they can invest in important services like public safety and policing. As the governor highlighted during his 2022 State of the State address, data from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) demonstrate that since 2011, state aid to communities was cut by more than nine percent, while public safety costs have increased by more than 16 percent. In both of Gov. Evers’ previous biennial budgets, he proposed increasing shared revenue payments by two percent annually. Unfortunately, legislative Republicans repeatedly rejected these efforts, and in fact, passed legislation that would have further reduced shared revenue payments to counties and municipalities, which the governor vetoed. Additionally, in his 2021-23 biennial budget proposal, Gov. Evers proposed allowing municipalities with populations over 30,000 to impose a 0.5 percent sales tax to diversify local revenue sources and better empower local governments to fund things like public safety. This was also rejected by Republicans in the Legislature.
A chart of projected distribution of increased shared revenue to local communities through Gov. Evers’ 2023-25 budget proposal based on the current state formula is available here. A projected allocation of the $10 million public safety supplement is available here.
In addition to the governor’s local government budget announcements, Gov. Evers announced today he will also be directing nearly $3.5 million in immediate support for the Wisconsin State Patrol and campus police departments, while committing to additional positions for the State Patrol in the 2023-25 biennial budget. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this investment includes providing State Troopers with $3 million to cover overtime costs for efforts such as maintaining highway safety, enhancing coordinated criminal interdiction of illicit weapons and drugs, and bolstering anti-human trafficking efforts.
Additionally, the existing Law Enforcement Agency Grant Program will be expanded to provide more than $400,000 to campus police departments, gun buy-back programs will be included as an eligible expense, and the expenditure deadline will be extended until the end of 2023. The Law Enforcement Agency Grant Program provides nearly $20 million to local and tribal law enforcement agencies to spend on what they need most, including training, recruitment bonuses, community policing needs, and technology investments.
In addition to these immediate resources, Gov. Evers will also propose an additional 35 state trooper and 10 inspector positions in the 2023-25 budget to ensure ongoing resources for these efforts and increase State Patrol resources across the state.
Throughout Gov. Evers’ tenure, the Republican-led Legislature has consistently rejected his efforts to enhance public safety through the biennial budget process. In addition to not supporting increased funding for shared revenue, in the last two budgets, the Legislature removed $2 million in funding for law enforcement overtime costs, reduced the governor’s proposed investment in crime victim and witness services, and reduced the governor’s proposed investment in state crime lab toxicology testing.
In the face of legislative inaction, over the past year, Gov. Evers has invested more than $100 million in violence prevention and community safety statewide, including:
- $45 million for violence prevention efforts and support for crime victims, including more than $8 million for the city of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) and $17 million for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Project;
- $50 million for local and tribal law enforcement agencies, as well as to help alleviate the pandemic-related backlog of criminal cases through additional public defender and assistant district attorney support;
- $5.5 million for the State Public Defender Initiative to establish ‘roving teams’ that can provide assistance where it is needed most;
- $2.2 million to help the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) take immediate steps to address crime and violence;
- $1 million for summer youth programming and job training opportunities to ensure youth are meaningfully engaged, making connections with mentors, and positively contributing to their communities; and
- $800,000 for community safety initiatives in the city of Racine, focusing on a public health approach to violence prevention.