(LibertySons.org) – State governments have used line-item vetoes to mixed effect because governors often use them to reject portions of appropriations or proposals without renegotiating entire measures. Yet, like most compromises, sometimes there are drawbacks. Governors in 44 states hold line-item veto power, and one of them, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D), used his on Wednesday, July 5, quietly changing a bill and educational prospects in the state for the next 400 years.
Wisconsin law is powerful, allowing Evers to change the budget appropriation bill, including striking out words, lines, or figures. In the portion of the bill dealing with annual tax appropriations to benefit students, he used his veto power to increase the amount of funding the state will raise per student by $325 each year through 2425 using whatever combination of state aid and local property taxes are necessary.
Initially, the passage read, “for the 2023-24 school year and the 2024-25 school year, add $325,” but Evers amended it to read, “for 2023-2425, add $325” before signing the measure. The governor also used his line-item veto to reject the Republican legislature’s tax reform plan that would have implemented a $3.5 billion tax cut, primarily for the top two tax brackets. Instead, Evers maintained existing tax brackets and provided modest tax relief to the lowest two tax brackets, comprising only a $175 million tax cut.
On July 6, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told NBC affiliate KPVI Channel 6 that the Legislature would attempt to override the governor’s partial vetos with two-thirds majorities in both legislative houses, but he admitted that even though the Senate had enough votes, the Assembly would fall short. Alternatively, the legislature can attempt to pass stand-alone measures to implement the rest of the targeted tax cut.
Vos also spoke with ABC affiliate WISN 12 News to discuss whether the legislature might bring suit against the governor. Vos called Evers “a liar” for negotiating in bad faith, and when asked about the allegation, he said, “The truth is the truth.”
In addition to the legislature, conservative critics online also protested. Newsweek cited the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty Research Director Will Flanders, who recently tweeted his belief that what Evers did was undemocratic. He called it a blatant change of the legislature’s intent.
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