(The Center Square) – There’s a chance for Gov. Evers, legislative Democrats, and anyone in the state of Wisconsin to create their own state budget.
The Institute for Reforming Government this week launched a new interactive budget-making website.
"This new tool allows all Wisconsin residents to gain a greater understanding of our state’s budget — from experienced legislative stakeholders to members of the public who want to be more informed about how their tax dollars are being spent,” IRG President CJ Szafir said.
The website doesn’t require people to account for every single one of the $80-plus billion that makes up Wisconsin’s two-year spending plan. Instead, Szafir says, people start with Wisconsin’s nearly $2 billion surplus, decide how much to spend on schools, roads, and health care, decide whether to raise taxes, and then decide if Gov. Evers’ new tax and spending proposals are affordable.
"Families don't pay attention to the state budget until it's too late. We're changing that,” Szafir told The Center Square on Wednesday. “With our website, anyone in Wisconsin can, for free, decide whether they agree with the governor's budget and then start to create their own.”
Szafir says most people understand the basics of budgeting, even if they don’t closely follow the state budget-making process.
“There is one major difference between the state budget and that of Wisconsin families: Wisconsin families can’t magically raise more revenue to meet their needs. Families must work harder or reduce expenses. Under the Governor’s budget, no such reality check exists,” Szafir explained.
Republican lawmakers are in the process of writing the next state budget, it’s due to be finished by July 1.
After that, no one knows what will happen. Gov. Evers opposes some parts of the new spending plan. He’s also demanding projects and spending of his own. It is not clear if, or how, the governor may veto the budget.