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Evers calls special legislative session over state workforce, child care budget

Source: Wis. Gov. Tony Evers

Evers calls special legislative session over state workforce, child care budget

The special session will be at noon on Sept. 20.

August 8, 2023 11:11 AM CDT

By: Jimmie Kaska

MILWAUKEE (WAUK) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Tuesday calling for a special legislative session to deal with budgets for child care services in the state as well as funding for other items he considers important to addressing workforce issues.

The special session will be at noon on Sept. 20.

Evers said in a release that his proposal calls for $1 billion of the state’s $4 billion surplus to help prop up Wisconsin’s child care providers, add more paid family leave, and increase funding for higher education.

“With the largest surplus in state history, my biennial budget included meaningful, comprehensive, long-term investments and solutions to address Wisconsin’s longstanding workforce challenges, reduce barriers to employment, and prevent these challenges from becoming an unmitigated crisis that would have calamitous consequences for Wisconsin’s already-strapped workforce,” Evers said. “Unfortunately, Republicans failed to meet the moment, sending my budget back to my desk absent critical investments in key areas that they know and publicly acknowledge are essential to the success of our state.”

“Today, I’m calling on the Legislature to finish their work on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pass a comprehensive plan to address our state’s chronic workforce issues. These challenges that have plagued our state for generations will continue, holding our economy, our families, and our state back if Republicans in the Legislature don’t take seriously the second chance I’m giving them, and urgently,” Evers said. “We must work together in the coming weeks so we can bolster our state’s workforce, maintain our economic momentum, and most importantly, do the right thing for Wisconsin.” 

Evers proposes using $365 million to replace the federal Child Care Counts program, which expires later this year, expanding paid family and medical leave with a $243 million fund, and sending $66.4 million to the UW System to help its universities deal with budget shortfalls. Evers also is proposing spending $197.3 million on the UW-Madison engineering building project.

Evers also proposes increasing aid to the state’s technical colleges by $40 million and adding $17.3 million to the Wisconsin Grants program, which helps lower-income college students afford school. Another $100 million would be tabbed for the state’s Workforce Innovant Grant program, and $16 million for public school teachers to help train new educators across the state.

Republicans are expected to gavel in and out of the special session as they have done in previous special sessions called by Evers. Many of the proposals in Evers’ Tuesday announcement were cut by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee before the biennial budget was signed earlier this year.

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