Gov. Tony Evers (D) delivered his fifth annual State of the State address on the evening of January 24 before a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature. The address was delivered in the Assembly Chambers of the Wisconsin Capitol Building. The governor’s office has released the full text of his prepared remarks as well as selected excerpts, and a recording is available here.
During the address, the governor’s office sent out a series of press releases as Gov. Evers discussed each of four proposals that will be included in his 2023-25 state budget proposal.
Declaring 2023 the “Year of Mental Health,” Gov. Evers announced that his 2023-25 budget will propose spending “$500 million to expand access to mental and behavioral health, including veteran and school-based mental health services, suicide and crisis lifeline support,” and “efforts to bolster [the] mental and behavioral health workforce.” He argued that “the state of mental health in Wisconsin is a quiet, burgeoning crisis that I believe will have catastrophic consequences for generations if we don’t treat it with the urgency it requires.”
Gov. Evers’ budget will propose spending $106 million to “support municipalities in responding to local PFAS contamination, bolster staff and resources at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and increase PFAS testing, sampling, and monitoring.” His budget will also include new regulatory standards for PFAS. The governor included some similar proposals in his 2021-23 budget.
Workforce and Economic Development
Gov. Evers announced that his budget proposal will include $190 million “to bolster Wisconsin’s workforce, including the healthcare, education, and clean energy sectors” and to continue funding the Main Street Bounceback grant program, which was funded by one-time federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Gov. Evers announced several budget proposals related to child care, including a $30 million expansion of the Child and Dependent Care income tax credit. His budget will also allocate $340 million for the Child Care Counts stabilization payment program and $22 million for the “Partner Up!” employer/provider grant program.
Previous State of the State Addresses
In 2022, Gov. Evers discussed the challenges of and responses to COVID-19, including how his administration allocated federal funds. The core of the address focused on his plan for spending some of the state’s projected surplus revenue, including surplus checks, new income tax credits, and funding boosts for K-12 and higher education.
In his 2021 address, Gov. Evers declared 2021 the “Year of Broadband Access” and discussed redistricting and his proposal to reform the state’s unemployment insurance system. Because of COVID-19, the governor chose to deliver the address virtually via YouTube and Facebook.
Previously, Gov. Evers focused his 2020 address on agricultural policy, redistricting, PFAS, and the so-called “dark stores” loophole. In his first address, the governor declared 2019 the “Year of Clean Drinking Water” and discussed his proposals for education spending and Medicaid expansion.