Evers adjusting spending plans after Rescue Plan cash lower than anticipated

MADISON (WKOW) – Governor Tony Evers’ only definitive answer on Wednesday to questions about how his administration will adjust to Wisconsin to receive $ 700 million less than expected under the US bailout is that it has no impact on previously announced plans for small business relief efforts.

Wisconsin learned Tuesday that it would receive $ 2.5 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act. The Congressional Budget Office previously estimated the state would receive $ 3.2 billion.

Evers, the vetoed a bill In March, this would have given Republican-controlled lawmakers a say in how the money was used. Previously, he had split the proposed spending into three buckets:

  • $ 2.5 billion in economic relief, including business grants
  • $ 200 million for broadband expansion
  • $ 500 million for ongoing pandemic response.

Given the proposed spending skeleton, the loss of $ 700 million resulted in the Evers government being reformed.

“Obviously that $ 700 million makes a difference,” Evers said. “That’s $ 700 million. We can’t help people, our small businesses, and others recover as quickly as we wanted.”

Evers later, in the same answer to a question about how the reduction would affect the state’s relief plans, indicated that helping small businesses would remain high on the priority list.

“When we think of the areas of the state that are struggling so hard, it’s small businesses, businesses on Main Street, bars, restaurants and so on,” Evers said. “We will continue to make sure they are a priority.”

Britt Cudaback, director of communications for the governor’s office, said Wednesday the disappointing news would likely lead the government to shrink its proposed spending in all three buckets, but added that it would have no impact on previously announced corporate relief plans .

These included $ 420 million for Small Business Recovery Grant, $ 50 million for Main Street Business Grant, $ 50 million for Just Recovery, and $ 50 million for the Beyond the Classroom Initiative “.

The government had also pledged $ 50 million for the tourism industry, which Cudaback said would not be affected by the reduction either.

The estimated $ 700 million loss will also cause problems for the ongoing state budget process.

UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said the matter had been further tarnished by clarifying that $ 2.5 billion would be split into two doses. One half comes from, the other half comes after another year.

“A second amount waiting to be received by the state next year complicates matters in my opinion,” said Burden. “Because we really don’t know exactly what the state’s budget situation will look like in 12 months.”

Is it worth vaccinating?

While Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that the state would be holding five $ 1 million lotteries to reward vaccinated residents, Evers said he wouldn’t rule anything out if asked if he would consider using government funds for a vaccination incentive program.

“We will do everything in our power to get people to be shot in the arms,” ​​said Evers.

As for the money earmarked for ongoing pandemic response, Cudaback said those funds would cover continuation of efforts including contact tracing and clinics, regardless of the final amount.

Health Department officials said Wednesday they would enter a phase where fewer people would be vaccinated over an extended period as demand for the vaccine has hit a wall in recent weeks and about 45 percent of the state’s population is at least receiving it have a dose.