Gov. Tony Evers chats with Mid-State Culinary Arts students. (Courtesy Mid-State)

Evers ‘optimistic’ about shared revenue talks

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday released a statement expressing optimism regarding ongoing negotiations with Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) toward reaching a bipartisan compromise to increase local community funding statewide through shared revenue, one of the most significant sources of funding provided by the state to local governments.

After a Republican-backed shared revenue bill, AB 245, was introduced two weeks ago, Evers announced his intent to veto the bill as introduced in its entirety, saying the legislation did not provide enough funding for local communities across the state and calling on the Wisconsin State Legislature to substantially increase resources for local communities and address provisions in the bill aimed at restricting local control.

The governor’s statement today comes as Evers and Republican leaders have been engaged in conversations, and negotiations are ongoing to reach a consensus on an amendment to AB 245 in an attempt to address the governor’s concerns.

“I’ve appreciated the opportunity to meet with Speaker Vos and Majority Leader LeMahieu, and I want to thank them for their willingness to work together to find a bipartisan compromise on an issue that I believe is one of the most important that will be taken up during this legislative session—the state finally stepping up to do its part to invest in local communities across our state.

“Our conversations together have been productive, centered around substantially increasing investments in our local communities, ensuring more flexibility to local partners than is currently provided under AB 245, and ensuring the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County have the tools they need to be financially secure and successful.

“Today, we are in a much better place than we were just two weeks ago. All parties have been willing to set differences aside, all parties have worked to operate in good faith, and all parties have come to the table committed to finding common ground — and for that, I am very grateful.

“As we continue these important negotiations and conversations in the weeks ahead, I am optimistic and hopeful we can find a compromise that both meets the needs of our local communities and ensures our local partners have more flexibility to make decisions that work for them.

“I’ve always said that our local partners know best what they need to meet local needs. So, just as I have from the beginning, I will continue to listen to communities and community leaders from across our state and encourage local partners to provide feedback.

“And I look forward to continuing my conversations with Speaker Vos and Majority Leader LeMahieu to negotiate an amended compromise that all of us can agree upon and support.”