(Illustration by Morgaine Ford-Workman)
(Illustration by Morgaine Ford-Workman)

Republicans begin detailed work on a new state budget by announcing they’ll also kill the governor’s standards for clean water.

The committee that oversees the state’s budget process has scheduled a hearing for this Thursday where it will take up changes to Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed budget, essentially doing a complete revision that drops many of the governor’s initiatives, including an expansion of BadgerCare health coverage that would save taxpayers more than $1 billion. 

The agenda for the hearing includes a motion to remove large sections of what Evers revealed in February. Republicans control the Joint Finance Committee by a 12-4 margin, all but ensuring the motion will pass.

Legislative Republicans have been saying for weeks they planned to re-write the budget or at least remove some key provisions. “Unfortunately, I assume we will probably have to start from scratch,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said.

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Some of the measures Republican leadership has signaled will be on the chopping block include: expanding BadgerCare, which would bring in an additional $1.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds to the state, legalizing marijuana, raising the state’s minimum wage, and repealing some of the anti-union provisions of Act 10, which was signed into law a decade ago when Republicans took control of the state Assembly, Senate, and governorship.

Some of the other sections slated for removal by Joint Finance include: 

  • Implementation of Juneteenth as a state holiday
  • Establishing offices of sustainability and clean energy and an office for environmental justice
  • Landlord-tenant protections
  • Broadband expansion initiatives
  • A provision to bar housing discrimination on the basis of gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation
  • PFAS standards, testing and clean-up
  • Juvenile justice reforms