(The Center Square) – One of the legislators who helps write Wisconsin’s state budget says Gov. Tony Evers’ expense cuts are not enough and not in the right places.

“The cuts announced by Gov. Evers raise questions about his priorities,” Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said. 

Evers proposed budget cuts to offset the nearly $1 billion loss in state government revenues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and government measures to minimize its spread. 

Nygren said the cuts introduced last week don’t get anywhere close to what is needed. 

“After claiming that he would cut state operations spending by 5%, the plan released by Gov. Evers shows actual cuts to operations spending of less than 2.5%,” Nygren said. “Making matters worse, nearly two-thirds of the cuts are being shouldered by the UW System.”

Evers’ office on Thursday announced the UW System will need to return $40 million to the state. That is the largest of his $70 million in budget cuts. 

The $40 million is the largest single cut announced this month, but is a tiny fraction of the UW Systems $6.3 billion annual budget. 

Nygren said it’s not just the amount that matters. It’s because the UW System is seeing a cut while other parts of state government are being spared. 

“While he has exempted the budgets of 25 state agencies, including his political buddies, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Secretary of State Doug La Follette, Gov. Evers has cut appropriations for farmer mental health, substance abuse and drunk driving prevention and treatment, and homelessness prevention,” Nygren said. 

Nygren says that includes the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Department of Workforce Development, and the Department of Administration. 

“One clear winner in Governor Evers’ cuts is Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes,” Nygren said. “Gov. Evers has exempted the Lt. Governor’s office from any reduction. The Governor also vetoed any limit to the security costs of the Lt. Governor in the state budget. The taxpayers of Wisconsin deserve better.”

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.