By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers called on the Republican-controlled Legislature on Thursday to spend $250 million from a state budget surplus on public schools, roughly half of which would go toward lowering property taxes.
The plan presents a contrast to priorities put forward by various Republican leaders, who say they are only interested in cutting taxes, not spending more on schools.
Evers, the former state superintendent for education, surrounded himself with teachers, school board members, superintendents, Democratic lawmakers and others on Thursday before releasing his plan. He called on the Legislature to take up his proposals in a special session before adjourning next month.
The plan has a tough road in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Just minutes before Evers announced his plan, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Republican senators were intent 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 spending.
Budget projections released last month estimated the state will collect about $450 million more than previously expected in its general fund by the middle of 2021, giving rise to a feeding frenzy in the Legislature among various interest groups seeking to claim part of the surplus.