, ,

Gov. Evers vetoes $3B Republican tax cut, DEI loyalty ban

Evers signed a bipartisan bill supporting Holocaust education and another to increase mental health crisis centers in Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers looks ahead as he speaks.
Gov. Tony Evers speaks before signing the 2023-2025 biennial budget Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed 41 bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature on Friday — rejecting a $3 billion Republican tax cut and political loyalty pledges for higher education employees.

Evers signed a bipartisan bill to provide $400,000 supporting Holocaust education in Wisconsin schools. A 2021 law requires teaching about the Holocaust in grades 5 through 12 statewide. The money approved by Evers will go to the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center to support that education.

He also signed a bipartisan bill designed to increase the number of mental health crisis centers across the state.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

During more than five years as governor with a Republican-controlled Legislature, Evers has vetoed more bills than any governor in Wisconsin history.

Evers vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the Universities of Wisconsin and other higher education institutions from conditioning employment and admission decisions on diversity statements. Right now, UW doesn’t have any such spoken loyalty pledges in higher education, making the bill unnecessary, Evers said.

Republicans passed the measure as part of their effort both in Wisconsin and across the country to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on university campuses.

Another bill signed by Evers would allow people to be charged fees to redact recorded audio and video content provided under open records requests. Media organizations and open records advocates opposed the bill. It passed with bipartisan support and was backed by law enforcement agencies.

Evers had vowed to veto the GOP tax cut bill, one of several tax cut measures passed by Republicans this session that the governor rejected.

The scuttled tax plan would have dropped the state income tax from 5.3 percent to 4.4 percent for individual income between $27,630 and $304,170, and for married couples between $18,420 and $405,550.

The bill would also have excluded the first $150,000 of a couple’s retirement income from taxes, which would apply to people over 67.

The measure would have reduced tax collections by $3.2 billion over two years, which the governor called “fiscally irresponsible” in his veto message. He said the state would’ve been unable to meet its basic obligations like funding schools and prisons.

Evers noted earlier this month he did sign a more limited, bipartisan tax cut that will expand the state’s child care tax credit.