RACINE — Now that Gov. Tony Evers has made his proposed 2019-21 biennial budget public, the Legislature will spend the next several months negotiating and debating over what should be included.
The Republican-controlled Legislature has made it clear that many of what was proposed in Evers’ budget will likely not pass. However, Evers is armed with the power of a line-item veto.
Wisconsin governors have the power to strike out words, numbers and even entire sentences from appropriations bills.
While those conversations are being had in Madison, leaders from local municipalities and counties all across the state will keep an eye on what becomes the final product.
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said it is too early in the budget process to get a positive or negative feeling about the upcoming budget.
“Given the divided government in Madison, we know the budget will likely change substantially between now and its final adoption,” Delagrave said. “We will be closely monitoring the process as it moves forward in the coming months.”
Evers’ budget does have some provisions that, if passed, local municipalities could take advantage of.
The proposed budget allows for:
- Counties and municipalities to raise tax levies by up to 2 percent, regardless of growth.
- Increase funding for municipal aids by 2 percent starting in 2020.
- Allow a levy limit adjustment to local governments for shared emergency dispatch centers and create a new levy limit exclusion for new or expanded transit systems that cross municipal or county boundaries.
- Close the “dark store” loophole for property tax assessments.
- Limit the percentage of a tax incremental financing (TIF) district’s project costs that can go to cash grants to developers to 20 percent.
- $1.9 million increase for local road improvements.
- 10 percent increase in general transit aids
- $3 million increase each year for specialized transportation for seniors and those with disabilities.
Racine Mayor Cory Mason said Evers’ proposed budget “makes real improvements for the City of Racine and its residents.”
“Increases in shared revenue, more funding for public schools, transportation aid, expanded access to healthcare, and raising the minimum wage are all proposals that help us succeed as a community,” Mason said. “I have often said that the state budget is a values document. While it will take us some time to unpack everything in his proposal, it appears that the governor’s values closely align with those of the city.”
“Given the divided government in Madison, we know the budget will likely change substan-tially between now and its final adoption.” Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County executive