Wisconsin Gov. Evers says smaller stimulus will change amount, not direction of federal money


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers continues to refuse to say how he’ll spend the state’s federal stimulus money, even as he prepares to receive less.

The governor on Wednesday said he is preparing to receive $2.5 billion in American Rescue dollars rather than the $3.2 billion the state had originally budgeted.

“The buckets, I think are pretty well defined already, that we’ll be using,” Evers told reporters. “It may impact some of the amounts.”

Evers has talked in broad generalities about where he wants to spend the stimulus money, most often saying he wants to dedicate the money to Wisconsin’s coronavirus relief effort.

He was vague on Wednesday as well.

“When we think about the areas of the state that have been struggling so mightily, it’s small businesses, Main Street businesses, bars, restaurants and so on,” the governor explained. “We will continue to make sure they are a priority. Even with the $700 million less.”

The Treasury Department earlier this week updated Wisconsin’s stimulus allotment, and announced a delay in payment. The agency cut the $700 million, Evers said because of Wisconsin’s low unemployment numbers.

Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin this week wrote a letter to the Treasury Department asking for a reconsideration.

“Over the past year, we have been clear that our response to the pandemic must be robust and it must be flexible to meet the specific needs that our state faces,” their letter stated. “We know the Biden Administration shares our goal of delivering help to those most affected by the pandemic and ensuring we can bounce back better than we were before this pandemic hit. A delay of up to a year in being able to access these funds in Wisconsin risks slowing our economic relief and the successful recovery progress we’ve made to date.”

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