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Tool of the Week: Tony Evers’ big week

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 27, 2020 

MADISON — It was a big week in Tool Land for Gov. Tony Evers.

As we noted Thursday, the light-duty Democrat stayed up past his bedtime Wednesday to deliver his second State of the State address.

Evers laid out a number of big-government ideas for what is expected to be an election year-shortened legislative session. He seems set on making the most stringent and expensive standards on groundwater chemicals in the world, hammering vaping, and sticking taxpayers with student loan debt.

The governor also proposed an $8.5 million package of eight bills that are supposed to help the state’s troubled agriculture industry. He called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to take up the package this week.  

Conservatives found curious Evers’ sudden interest in saving the ag sector. State Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) noted the governor previously “proposed raising taxes on the agriculture industry to pay for expanded welfare programs.” Evers’ budget proposal would have capped the successful Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit. The initial proposal would have raised taxes on farms and factories. 

“Governor Evers spent his first year in office catering to his far-left liberal friends in Madison. No amount of rhetoric can cover his failed record of putting rural Wisconsin and our farmers behind liberal special interests,” Nygren, who co-chairs the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, said in a statement. 

Evers couldn’t even get the messaging right. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was forced to clarify its reporting of the State of the State speech because the governor “mischaracterized” the goal of his dairy export package. 

“A spokeswoman for Evers on Thursday clarified the plan is to increase U.S. dairy exports to 20 percent of the nation’s milk supply by 2024, not Wisconsin’s dairy exports as Evers said during his address,” the newspaper stated online. 

In his call to action, Evers said he will create a “nonpartisan” redistricting commission. 

“The will of the people is the law of the land and, by golly, the people should not take no for an answer,” Evers said. He, of course, forgets the will of all of the people who elected the lawmakers in charge of creating the district maps. 

While Evers’ people’s commission sounds good to liberals who insist the legislatively drawn maps are stacked against their electoral success (an assumption that disregards voter rejection of their ideas), Republican lawmakers assert the governor overlooks the state’s constitution. 

“He will go through some kind of Rube Goldberg process,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told the Associated Press. “He doesn’t get to draw them. That’s not in the constitution. He can form whatever kind of fake, phony, partisan process he wants to create, but I have no doubt in the end we will do it the way we always have, which is to follow the constitution.” 

During his policy pep talk, Evers scolded lawmakers, saying they needed to stay and work hard until the job is done. This from the governor who Capitol insiders say infrequently puts in a full day. 

“There’s no rest for the elected, folks, and we’ve got a lot to get done before anyone takes a vacation,” Evers said in his State of the State address. 

There assuredly will be plenty of rest for nap-and-spend Tony, who is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week, just weeks after earning the Tool of the Year award. 

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