Gov. Evers Signs 2019-21 Budget Bill

On July 3, 2019, Gov. Tony Evers signed into law the 2019-21 state budget as 2019 Act 9. The governor used his partial-veto authority to change 78 provisions adopted by the Legislature.

The final budget includes bipartisan priorities such as a middle class tax cut, water quality initiatives, expansions to dental care access, other health care initiatives, and increased education and transportation funding.

Below is a summary of notable provisions removed by the governor’s partial veto.


  • Removes the use of Volkswagen settlement funds for a school bus replacement program. As a result of this partial veto, Gov. Evers directs the Department of Administration (DOA) to allocate up to $10 million of the settlement funds to a grant program for electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Deletes the Department of Transportation (DOT) study on tolling and mileage based fees. The governor noted his continued support for a motor fuel tax increase, though his 8 cent per gallon gas tax increase was not included in the Legislature’s budget.
  • Deletes provisions setting light-truck registration fees for all trucks under 10,000 lbs at $100 and instead re-instates a scale of fees based on weight.
  • Moves the effective date of the budget bill’s reduction in the fuel suppliers administrative allowance from 2023 to 2020.
  • Removes the provision that would have allowed a manufacturer that manufactures only electric motor vehicles (e.g., Tesla) to sell directly to consumers, circumventing Wisconsin’s motor vehicle dealer franchise laws.
  • Makes changes to the DOT design-build pilot program. The governor said his veto changes give DOT more flexibility to administer the program.


Health Care

  • Adjusts provisions for scholarships at the Marquette University School of Dentistry. The partial veto expands the scholarships to students in all health care professions, allows scholarships to students practicing anywhere in the state, and expands the scholarships to all schools.
  • Defunds FoodShare Employment and Training for able-bodied adults with dependents and drug screening requirements.
  • Reduces funding available for the Department of Health Services (DHS) to administer FoodShare Employment and Training and Medicaid eligibility requirements, including drug screening and work requirements.
  • Maintains the $30 million provided but adjusts the funding for hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients by allowing an increase to the maximum per hospital payment and giving DHS the flexibility to determine the amount of additional funding hospitals receive under the Disproportionate Share Hospital supplemental payments and other potential supplemental payments. Gov. Evers noted DHS needs the flexibility to prioritize the needs of patients in the absence of federal dollars from his proposed Medicaid expansion.
  • Reduces Medical Assistance funding by $15 million in each year of the biennium. The governor noted the funds are no longer necessary based on updated expenditure projections.
  • Removes $5 million in funding for Medicaid reimbursement rate increases for physicians and behavioral health providers in both years of the biennium from the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) supplemental appropriation. The governor objected to keeping the funds in the JFC appropriation and directs DHS to provide rate increases from current resources.
  • Removes $2.7 million in funding for telehealth in Medicaid from the JFC supplemental appropriation. The governor objected to keeping the funds in the JFC appropriation and directs DHS to proceed from existing resources.
  • Removes $1 million GPR for Medicaid reimbursement rate increases for physical health providers. The governor objected to keeping the funds in the JFC appropriation and to expending the funds without Medicaid expansion.
  • Reduces funding in the Medicaid home health benefit for a hub-and-spoke treatment model for substance abuse by $89,900 GPR. The governor objected to keeping the funds in the JFC appropriation and directed DHS to expend existing GPR funds.


Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement

  • Deletes funding and bonding authority for replacing the Green Bay Correctional Institution.
  • Keeps the assistant district attorney positions added by the Legislature, but deletes language allocating the positions to specific counties.
  • Extends the appropriation for beat patrol grants by deleting the sunset date of July 1, 2021.
  • Deletes the provision requiring DOT, in collaboration with the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to issue a request for proposals for the Wisconsin Statewide Public Safety Interoperable Communications System (WISCOM). The governor objected to having DOT issue the request for proposals when the program operates in DMA. Furthermore, DOA typically has statutory authority over procurement.



  • Removes provisions requiring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to repair state trails in Sauk County to Juneau County and Juneau County to Monroe County, therefore allowing DNR to make repairs on any state trails.
  • Removes provisions limiting local authority to regulate quarries.



  • Adds $100 million in per pupil aid.
  • Defunds grants for personal electronic computers for ninth grade students.



  • Changes the definition of “vapor product” for the purpose of the new excise tax on vapor fluids. The veto message states this would clarify to what products the new tax applies.


Building Projects

  • Deletes provisions allowing the Building Commission to issue grants for nonstate projects.
  • Reduces bonding authority and/or removes other building projects including the Green Bay Correctional Institution replacement, Medical College of Wisconsin cancer research facility, and UW-Green Bay library renovation.
  • Removes the northern Wisconsin regional crisis center project. Instead, the governor directs the $15 million in general fund supported bonds be used for the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center expansion.



What else is in the budget?



Gov. Evers also signed AB 251 as 2019 Act 10, related to online marketplace providers and providing an income tax reduction. The Senate and Assembly passed the bill on a bipartisan basis in June floor sessions.