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Legislative Update

Gov. Evers orders additional state spending cuts due to COVID-19

by | Jul 22, 2020 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget | 0 comments

Gov. Tony Evers today directed the Department of Administration (DOA) to identify $250 million in cost savings at state agencies for the current fiscal year.  He had previously ordered a 5% cut to state operations in late April. From a release from the Governor’s office:

“The governor’s proactive directive is an effort to ensure the state is in a stronger position to weather revenue impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also ensuring critical services remain accessible to Wisconsin residents. Earlier this summer, also at the direction of Gov. Evers, DOA announced the implementation of $70 million in cost savings for FY19-20 across 18 of Wisconsin’s largest state agencies.

“DOA and state agencies will follow the same “North Star Values” in identifying cost savings, as was done in the previous reduction effort. Those values are:

  • Our primary responsibility is to provide Wisconsin residents relevant, quality, and timely services;
  • Public service means making sure Wisconsinites’ hard-earned tax dollars are invested in ways that benefit their communities. It is also about being deeply knowledgeable and aware of the complicated ways in which state government, local governments, and individuals are interconnected financially (directly or indirectly);
  • Transparency and accountability to both the Wisconsin public and state employees requires that we communicate prompt and useful information to stakeholders regarding budget reduction activities; and
  • Humility, creative problem solving, service, flexibility, truth and patience: those are the values that will help us navigate the difficult fiscal road ahead.

Budget Committee Co-chair Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) provided the following reaction to

“There’s no details yet, but I’m a little skeptical because when he announced he was going to do a 5 percent cut, they couldn’t even do that,” the Marinette Republican said. “It ended up being less than 2 percent and at least half of that was from UW.”

Nygren did say that he’s been supportive of the calls for budget freezes and being aggressive in managing the state’s resources “so we don’t have to get into a dire situation.”

“The good news is because we’ve been pretty frugal and pretty responsible over the last eight years, we’re in a far better situation to weather the storm than a lot of other states, but it’s still going to be difficult,” he said.

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