How would I rate the job Governor Evers has been doing?
Governor Tony Evers has proposed a Badger Bounceback Budget that is full of positive ideas that will provide a great deal of benefits for all Wisconsinites. His proposed budget includes lowering prescription drug prices, investing in our schools and universities and expanding health care services including better mental health services.
Although Evers has the power to introduce the budget, the republican controlled Legislature has the final say as to what the final budget looks like. Evers does have the power to veto parts of the budget but this usually allows him to make minor changes that have little impact on the budget.
We have what is called a divided government. Our checks and balance system doesn’t allow for a quick response to address emergency situation such as a pandemic. It leads to many stalemates such as the 4-4 vote on the State Building Commission rejecting Gov. Evers capital budget which would have provided 29,000 family supporting jobs.
Gov. Evers has actively and intelligently fought the COVID-19 pandemic while under intense “fire” from the Republican-controlled Legislature. He leads while the republicans stonewall. They even sued to stop basic COVID-19 pandemic preventative measures initiated by the Governor. It would be hard to imagine where Wisconsin would be if the republicans controlled all the branches of government in Wisconsin. It would mean more COVID-19, more death and more economic problems.
Let’s look at what Gov. Evers has been able to accomplish since taking office. The list is long and the action decisive.
As of mid-March, Wisconsin led the nation in the number of COVID-19 shots used in comparison to the total doses received. One in three Wisconsinites 65 and older are fully protected and more than 20% of our citizens have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Gov. Evers announced the opening of the third vaccination clinic in Racine County. The other two are in Rock and La Crosse County. As more and more Wisconsinites become eligible for vaccines, these clinics will allow more people to become vaccinated and make it possible for us to reach community immunity.
He secured more than $322 million in funding to help support Wisconsinites who have experienced income loss due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide direct financial assistance for rent, utilities and home energy costs to individuals who qualify. The payments will go directly to the landlords and utilities.
He proposed a $2.38 million Capital Budget to provide an estimated 29,000 family-supporting jobs. These projects included major projects in 31 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. His budget includes $150 million for repair and replacement work on UW facilities that are near failing or failing.
The Wisconsin unemployment system was designed in the 1970s. COVID-19 really stressed this system and Gov. Evers proposed to improve it. Previous governors and state legislators knew about the problem but failed to fix it. He provided funds in his budget to fix the problem, but the State Senate failed to provide the funds to do the job. They however, did approve Evers proposal to eliminate the one-week waiting period and other things that will help unemployed Wisconsinites. Again, he provided the leadership to try to fix the problem.
Gov. Evers signed a bill that would provide $480 million in tax relief for businesses and families affected by the pandemic. It changed Wisconsin tax laws to allow federal funds to be allocated for COVID-19 relief.
Gov. Evers and the Department of Children and Families have developed a plan to use the $148.8 million money provided by congress to expand the Child Care Counts program and improve technology infrastructure. It would also be used to improve workforce training and communications. He stressed that “the success of our early care and education system is directly tied to the economic success of our state.”
Tucked into his Bounceback Budget are measures to improve broadband access across the state. The proposed budget includes $200 million for improving broadband. It represents five times the amount invested in 2013, 2015 and 2017 budgets combined. The investment is a bold approach that will definitely help rural Wisconsin. The Republican legislators have threatened to remove this very popular part of Gov. Evers Bounceback Budget.
We have a governor who wants government to work for the people. Because of the governor’s leadership and vision, Wisconsin is working again and we are moving forward together. It is time to admit that Evers is the best governor ever!
Steven Doelder is a member of the Democratic Party of Walworth County and lives in the Village of Bloomfield.