MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday called for the Republican-controlled Legislature to spend $250 million of a state budget surplus on public schools, roughly half of which would be targeted toward lowering property taxes.
The plan contrasts with Republican leaders who say they are focused on cutting taxes only, not spending more on schools.
Evers, the former state superintendent for education, surrounded himself with teachers, school board members, superintendents, Democratic lawmakers and others to unveil the plan. He called a special session for the Legislature to take up his proposal before they adjourn the session next month.
The plan will face a tough road in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Just minutes before Evers announced his plan, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Republican senators were focused on cutting taxes, not spending more on schools. Republicans have not released a plan.
“I don’t see the caucus going in that direction,” he said of increasing school funding.
Last month new budget projections estimated the state will collect about $450 million more in the state’s general fund by the middle of 2021, sparking a feeding frenzy in the Legislature and among various interest groups to claim a chunk of the surplus.