Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Gov. Evers Delivers State of the State, Outlines Education Priorities

Governor Evers delivered his first State of the State on Tuesday night before a joint session of the Legislature.

“The state of our state is that we've got work to do, and we're ready for bipartisan solutions,” said Evers.

His remarks focused heavily on the importance of bipartisan collaboration and “connecting the dots”, which he said will be the theme of his first state budget.  Evers told lawmakers that he expects them to take up his budget instead of crafting their own proposal.

“Connecting the dots means recognizing that what's best for our kids is best for our state,” said Evers. “The investment we make in our kids today will yield dividends for generations.”

Evers talked extensively about education, economic growth and technology, transportation, and health care. 

He also offered the following preview of this proposed state budget, which he said will include:

  • Restoring two-thirds state funding for schools.
  • A $600 million dollar increase in special education funding.
  • Closing the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color, which includes proposals to expand early childhood education and summer school grant programs.
  • A five-fold increase in mental health programs for K-12 students.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover an additional 76,000 Wisconsinites.
  • Declaring 2019 is the Year of Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin.
  • A 10% tax cut for everyone making up to $100,000 and families making up to $150,000.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos delivered the Republican response to the address. “No matter what you’ve heard, the state of our state is incredibly strong,” said Vos. He cited the fact that Wisconsin has the lowest tax burden in 50 years, our low unemployment rate and other economic statistics as examples of Wisconsin’s success, which he attributed Republican proposals implemented over the past eight years.  

"We will work to keep the tax burden lower and affordable for the middle class. We will protect those with pre-existing conditions. We will make record investments in K-12 education. And we will move Wisconsin forward," said Vos.