MADISON, WI– Governor Tony Evers will announce his first budget for Wisconsin Thursday night, and with it, no shortage of concerns from Republicans.
Evers said his budget is about putting people first and creating a Wisconsin that works for everyone.
Evers wants to invest heavily in things like rural broadband access and criminal justice reform.
He also wants to spend big on improvements to make sure drinking water is safe.
Evers is talking about a $70 million investment in water.
Over the next 2 years, the governor wants to increase investments in broadband expansions to more than $78 million.
He also said Thursday night he wants to decriminalize marijuana possession of 25 grams or less.
And Evers spent a lot of time Thursday night talking about making over the state’s criminal justice system.
“We have to connect the dots in criminal justice by tackling this issue holistically. Starting the moment someone encounters the justice system to the moment they re-join our communities, we have to look at everything from alternatives to incarceration to equity in representation to substance abuse prevention to re-entry programming,” said Evers.
The need for bipartisanship was also a focus of the governor’s speech Thursday night on issues like healthcare, education, and raising the gas tax.
“We need to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin, and according to a Marquette Law Poll, 62% of Wisconsinites agree. 82,000 more Wisconsinites will have access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage,” said Evers.
With K-12 education, Evers proposed returning to two-thirds funding at the state level.
For higher education, Evers wants to invest more than $150 million in the University of Wisconsin System, which would freeze tuition for undergraduate residents.
Evers also proposed the largest biennial investment in transportation in Wisconsin state history. He wants to raise more than $600 million in new revenues to fix Wisconsin roads, bridges, and highways.
But keep in mind, many of his proposals are likely dead on arrival because of the Republican-controlled legislature.