MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said that he would veto a shared revenue bill authored by Republicans in the state legislature if it reaches his desk “as-is.”
“Let’s increase the money that’s going to the locals,” Evers said. “And, frankly, also, let’s remove all those restrictions that the legislation was putting on those local folks.”
The bill, AB 245, had a public hearing Thursday morning two days after it was introduced, where Republicans said that they were still working on parts of the proposal.
2023 Assembly Bill 245 would change the shared revenue formula to primarily benefit rural communities with several conditions, as well as specific requirements for cities over 20,000 people to maintain levels of law enforcement in staffing, funding and the number of citations or arrests made by the municipality’s law enforcement agency. It would also eliminate the personal property tax and allow the City of Milwaukee to increase its sales tax through referendum to pay for employee retirements.
The Republican legislation limits the additional shared revenue funds to local governments for services such as police, fire and EMS, as well as transportation and public works.
Other provisions in the bill include prohibiting hiring practices based on demographic factors such as race or sexual orientation, requiring schools to collect and publish data on criminal or ordinance violations on school grounds, banning advisory referenda in counties or municipalities, limiting local health officials from closing businesses through mandates during epidemics, and changing some requirements for ambulance or first responder services.
Evers said that the bill takes control away from local governments, and that it doesn’t make sense.
“Send me a clean bill that talks about the money that we are going to give to the municipalities,” Evers said.
Wisconsin Republican leaders in a statement said that Evers’ public threat to veto the bill was “disappointing.”
“It’s very disappointing to come so close to the finish line only to have the Governor publicly issue veto threats because he wants to spend more money,” Rep. Robin Voss and Sen. Devin LeMahieu said in a statement.
The Associated Press reports that Republicans hope to pass the bill by the middle of the month.