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Assembly looks to override Evers’ economy-killing veto

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON —The Republican-led Assembly is back in session today to try to override Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ disastrous veto of a bill aimed at dealing with Wisconsin’s worker shortage crisis.

Capitol insiders say Dem leadership is in a panic, rallying the troops to hold firm on Evers’ veto. That might be a tall order for several liberals in tourism-rich districts that are particularly feeling worker shortage pain.

“We see they (Democratic leadership) browbeating their folks on Twitter. It’s their way of circling the wagon,” said an Assembly legislative aide. “But it’s a real problem back home for them.”

Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (R-Oshkosh) sounded confident, at least on Twitter, that Assembly Dems would sustain the veto in this extraordinary session.

Republicans, which hold a commanding 61-38 majority, need at least five Democrats to vote with them under the supermajority terms of overturning a veto.

Standing with Evers could prove costly for some vulnerable Dems.

The legislation would have ended the $300 weekly, federal pandemic unemployment bonus paid to jobless Wisconsinites. With the current $370 in weekly state unemployment payments, recipients are taking in $670 a week (untaxed on the federal payment), or about $16.75 an hour. Some unemployed Wisconsinites are making more staying at home than they are in the workforce. And that disincentive to work is only exacerbating the state’s work force shortage, now at crisis levels.

In vetoing the bill, Evers claimed he’s seen no connection between the generous federal payment and the work shortage.

He’s wrong, and his error could sink Wisconsin’s economic recovery, business advocates and economic experts say. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which has urged Evers to end the supplement, says nearly 2 million people would return to the U.S. workforce when the benefits come to an end. That’s according to Morning Consult.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said one in seven workers turned down a job offer due to the extra benefits. And, the number of people receiving unemployment is dropping far quicker in states that have already ended the $300 payments.

“While Gov. Evers may turn a blind eye to the thousands of businesses who are struggling to hire, WMC will continue to fight for you every single day,” WMC said Monday in a call to action.

The state’s largest chamber of commerce is asking members to contact their lawmakers and share their stories about how the $300 weekly benefit is worsening the workforce shortage.

Lawmakers across the state — Republican and Democrat  — have been getting an earful from constituents about the crisis. They really need only look at the signs — “Help Wanted”, “Now Hiring”, “Immediate Openings” — in the windows of Wisconsin businesses large and small.

Twenty-five states have ended the bonus payment.

Evers, looking for some political cover, has at the same time called the Legislature into “special session” to take up his package of $550 million in more state taxpayer money for K-12 and higher education.

“If Republicans have time to come into session just to try and override my vetoes, then they sure as heck have time to come into session and to do what’s best for our kids,” Evers said in a video message. “So If they’re going to come to Madison, then they have work to do.”

It’s Evers who is playing politics, according to Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

“Today’s special session call is nothing but political posturing. Just a few weeks ago, Governor Evers supported the K-12 budget that Republicans put on his desk. We increased special education costs to the highest dollar levels ever and doubled investments in mental health. He had no choice but to accept it,” the lawmakers said.

Wisconsin’s educrats are getting billions of dollars in federal COVID relief, most of which they may use at their discretion.

“We’ve said it over and over again – the influx of federal funding has to be a part of this conversation,” Marklein and Born said. “The Legislature’s budget, which he signed, accounted for the massive Federal funds for schools, made significant investments in our student’s education and respected taxpayers. It was a good budget and we continue to stand by our decisions.”

As with Evers’ previous “special sessions,” Republicans will likely gavel in and gavel out without taking up the governor’s big spending plan.

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5 thoughts on “Assembly looks to override Evers’ economy-killing veto

  • Forgot to mention previously. While in a business in Door County I asked an owner of a store as to why they had shorter hours?

    The lady stated #1 Biden, #2 Evers.. Then later a worker who heard us talking stopped me and said, She voted for both of them, but stated,

    NEVER AGAIN!

  • I have never seen as many “HELP WANTED” signs in almost every Wisconsin business like this before. This governor* needs to be recalled A.S.A.P. Why wait another second. How many small businesses were shut down by Evers in all of 2020 and now into 2021. Where are all the criminal attorneys who should be looking for ways to charge Evers for the crimes he committed to kill thousands of small businesses? This is an economic disaster. The big businesses that donated to his campaigns all made out very well. Drag him out of the Capitol by the scruff of the neck.

  • No lie about the tourist areas. Every place we were in said they are running below capacity and cutting hours due to the lack of help.
    It sure as hell ruins a vacation to hear that knowing people are being paid EXTRA not to work. Needless to say the business people are irritated by it and so we’re we. Cancelled the next planned trip for fall!
    These businesses that have to operate under these conditions NEED to pay attention to how their representatives vote!!

  • Of all the Wisconsin conservative news websites, Empower Wisconsin is the worst. Every article is insipid, stupid, silly, and complacent. If I didn’t know any better — and maybe I don’t — I’d say it was run by democrats trying to give the Republican Party a bad name. Do better or shut down.

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