Officials worry about impact on local roads, prosecutor’s office

By Jason Arndt

Editor

While the new state budget bolstered road funding, some area lawmakers had concerns about how the new revenue will be allocated, after Gov. Tony Evers vetoed some provisions approved by the state legislature.

Evers, who issued 78 partial vetoes, signed the budget now known as 2019 Act 9 on July 3.

Under one veto, according to Wisconsin Public Radio, Evers eliminated the requirement that millions in state money be funneled specifically to counties, cities, towns and villages. Instead, the partial veto will allow the state Department of Transportation to distribute the funds where it sees fit.

The new road revenue accounting for about $400 million will come from increases in vehicle title and registration fees.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said in statement he had concerns the veto would reduce funding for road repairs throughout Racine County.

“The final budget reduced the money for road repairs for towns, cities and counties and the remaining funding can be used on anything transportation-related,” he said in a statement released by his office.

Meanwhile, in a statement released by Evers following his vetoes, he said his original budget proposal came after meeting with residents throughout the state and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The People’s Budget, as he called it, represents the will of the state residents.

“I believe the people of our state would have been better off in this budget if we could have found more common ground, even if it meant each of us not getting everything we wanted,” he wrote in his 65-page response.

 

Local prosecutors nixed

Statewide, the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association requested 139 additional prosecutors to help local offices manage heavy caseloads, with the state budget granting nearly 65 additional full-time assistant district attorneys.

The additional prosecutors, however, did not include the Racine County District Attorney’s Office after Evers struck two proposed additions to the office from the budget.

The decision left both Vos and Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson disappointed.

“It was very highly sought after by the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association, and I am extremely disappointed,” Hanson said. “The last legislative audit says that Racine is short 13 attorneys based on the caseload that we have.”

Hanson, however, praised the state legislature for adding wage incentives to the budget that Evers signed.

“DAs around the state are very grateful for the Legislature and governor funding these items in the budget.”

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