Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has used his partial veto power to make a creative line-item change to the state budget, securing increased funding for public schools until 2425 instead of 2025. The BBC reports: Republicans have reacted with fury to what they call “an unprecedented brand-new way to screw the taxpayer.” The move could however be undone by a legal challenge or future governor. It is the latest tussle between Mr Evers, a former public school teacher who narrowly won re-election last year, and a Republican-controlled state legislature that has often blocked his agenda. Their original budget proposal had raised the amount local school districts could generate via property taxes, by $325 per student, for the next two school years.
But Wisconsin allows its governors to alter certain pieces of legislation by striking words and numbers as they see fit before signing them into law – what is known as partial veto power. Both Democrats and Republicans have flexed their partial veto authority for years, with Mr Evers’ Republican predecessor once deploying it to extend a state program’s deadline by one thousand years.
This week, before he signed the biennial state budget into law, the governor altered language that applied the $325 increase to the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years, vetoing a hyphen and a “20” to instead make the end date 2425. He also used his power to remove proposed tax cuts for the state’s wealthiest taxpayers and protect some 180 diversity, equity and inclusion jobs Republicans wanted to cut at the public University of Wisconsin.