By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — After unveiling his $91 billion, tax-and-spend budget last week, Gov. Tony Evers began this week by announcing a $2.4 billion capital budget.
The behemoth spending plan, like Evers’ 2021-23 state budget proposal, will likely face a significant makeover by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
It is loaded down with new borrowing, nearly $2 billion-worth, according to the Department of Administration document.
The biggest single benefactor is the University of Wisconsin System. The system and its 13 universities and 26 campuses requested more than $1.3 billion in capital improvements. Evers recommends just over $1 billion worth of funding. One-tenth of the funding, $100 million, would go to fund the replacement of a University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering building. The total cost of that project is $150 million.
Another $163.63 million would fund the construction of a new State Office Building and parking structure in Milwaukee, “eliminating the need for privately leased office space.” The 263,000 gross-square-foot building would house about 1,000 full-time equivalent employees. The parking structure would include 1,000 stalls.
“The construction of the new MSOB will result in increased debt service costs to the supporting appropriation. An annual operating budget will need to be established for the new building,” the capital request document states. “While it is anticipated that this project will include energy efficient materials and systems which would reduce energy and maintenance costs, the supporting operating budget will need to be addressed based on actual costs.”
And Evers wants the state to borrow $40 million, part of a $240 million Wisconsin Museum of Nature and Culture for Milwaukee.
The governor’s capital budget includes over a half-billion dollars in maintenance and repair through the state’s All Agency Program.
He’s seeking $100 million in all funds for energy conservation projects at state agencies and the UW System. The governor with the extreme climate change agenda is prioritizing solar, wind and other renewable projects. He says the “achieved savings” from the reduction in utility costs would be used to pay debt service payments on the bonds.
Read Evers’ capital budget proposal here.