Wisconsin lawmakers won’t have much say in how Gov. Tony Evers spends over $5 billion in stimulus dollars.
The governor on Monday vetoed a proposal to give the legislature some input in the process.
The $5 billion is on top of $2 billion that Wisconsin got from the federal government last year. Republicans say there is some of that $2 billion still left to spend.
Republican lawmakers noted former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle shared spending authority with Republicans during the Obama Administration.
“It was good enough for Gov. Doyle in 2009, but not for Gov. Evers 2021?” Rep. Scott Krug, R-NeKoosa, said on Twitter. “The legislature has a strong process in place for oversight and transparency on spending. It should be utilized for this much money.”
The Republican-controlled legislature wanted to help the governor spend the $3.7 billion in American Rescue Plan money, as well as the $1.4 billion in federal money heading for the state’s schools.
Democrats accused Republicans of wanting to politicize the money.
“We can’t afford for the Legislature to play politics with our funds under the American Rescue Plan — we’re going to get folks support as quickly as we can,” the governor said in a statement.
“These funds don’t belong to me or any member of the Legislature, and these funds sure shouldn’t get caught up in another political back-and-forth where Republicans in the Legislature put politics before people or take nearly 300 days to act,” Evers said. “This money belongs to Wisconsinites and so many need this support — it would be unimaginable for Republicans to prevent these funds from going out to folks who need it the most.”
Gov. Evers on Monday said he plans to spend $2.5 billion of the ARPA money on tourism, small business help, infrastructure, and on the state’s coronavirus response. He did not offer any specifics as to what that means.
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