Republicans block Evers’ building budget for now

March 18, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans delayed approval of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed $2.4 billion budget for state building projects on Wednesday, employing the same tactic they used two years ago before they pared back the spending.

The evenly-divided State Building Commission deadlocked 4-4 on recommending the projects effectively moving the decision to the state Legislature’s GOP-controlled budget committee. That’s the same move Republicans employed last legislative session.

Democrats on Wednesday, as they did two years ago, argued that the move shows Republicans are unwilling to be bipartisan and were delaying important building projects. Republicans, just as they said two years ago, argued that Evers’ capital budget as proposed was too expensive and needed to be pared down.

Of the nearly $2.4 billion proposed for projects across 31 counties, $1 billion will be for the University of Wisconsin System. That mirrors Evers’ capital budget proposal from two years ago, when roughly $1 billion of the $2.5 billion was for projects on UW campuses. The Legislature ultimately approved $1.9 billion in building projects.

Projects include $163 million for a new state office building in Milwaukee, relocation of the state historical society museum to a new location near the Capitol and a new juvenile prison in Milwaukee County.