Gov Tony Evers 8-27-20

Gov. Tony Evers speaks about Jacob Blake's shooting at a statehouse news conference on August 24, 2020. 

(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers in Madison are preparing to spend the next week approving nearly a dozen changes to how they want Wisconsin to spend its billions in federal stimulus money.

Gov. Tony Evers is promising to veto any and all of the 11 pieces of what Republicans are calling the Responsible Stimulus Plan.

Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, on Wednesday announced their committee, the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, will hold hearings and approve the 11 pieces of legislation that would spend Wisconsin’s $3.2 billion in stimulus money on their priorities.

“We do not know how – or when – the Governor will allocate the massive amount of Federal funding available to Wisconsin in the most recent stimulus plan,” Marklein said. “Our legislation provides specific plans based on the real priorities of citizens statewide. We need to dedicate these funds in a meaningful way that will support the people of our state who are working to recover and move forward after the last unprecedented year.”

The list includes paying down debt, creating a statewide public safety communications system, setting money aside for Wisconsin’s unemployment trust fund, and sending grants to small businesses, nursing homes, and tourism operations across the state.

“The people of Wisconsin deserve to have their voices heard through their elected Representatives and Senators on how all of this federal money is spent,” Born said. “As I’ve said before, this money should not be unilaterally allocated by one person.”

But it will be spent by just one person. Congress gave governor’s the power to spend the money, and Gov. Evers in March vetoed legislation that would have granted lawmakers some say over the money.

The governor’s office on Tuesday reminded lawmakers of that veto.

There are also some questions about whether some of the Republican priorities are allowed under the American Rescue Plan that is providing the money. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau this week issued a report that said the plan to retire $500 in debt doesn’t appear to be allowed.

“Once again, the governor has chosen the go-it-alone approach,” Born said Wednesday. “But that won’t stop Legislative Republicans from advancing this package, which includes a number of items including grants to small business and tourism, funding for broadband expansion, and aid to households that will directly benefit the residents of Wisconsin.”

The plans will clear the Joint Finance Committee, then head to votes in the Assembly and Senate. Those final votes could come as early as next week.