Reactions to Gov. Evers' State of the State address

Statements appear here as provided to Action 2 News, with most recent statements first.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh)
“How refreshing to see an agenda that expands health care access, makes a commitment to our public schools, and rebuilds our transportation infrastructure. These are the issues that people across Wisconsin care about, and these are the issues Governor Evers is prioritizing.

“It is a new era for Wisconsin. Governor Evers is focused on restoring our shared Wisconsin values, not his political future. The core principles of the new Administration are the ideals we should all strive for: equity, opportunity, and community. Governor Evers knocked it out of the park tonight.”

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna)
“I was disappointed by the divisive tone Governor Evers set in this evening’s speech. Right out of the gate, he directed the independently elected attorney general to break the law and withdraw Wisconsin from the ObamaCare lawsuit. Shortly after, he rejected a tax cut that would benefit middle class families in favor of burdening our local farmers and manufacturers. He touted government run healthcare and increasing taxes as the basis for a budget, knowing full well that the Legislature will not support it.

“As disheartened as I am by the partisan aspects of Governor Evers’ speech, I still feel confident that we can find areas where we can work together. Whether it’s transportation, education, or through the bipartisan pre-existing conditions legislation we passed earlier today, I believe we can still find common ground on issues that will benefit Wisconsin families.”

Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth)
“I am happy to say that the state of our state is still strong today. In 2010 Republicans took over with a $3.6 billion deficit and 8.1% unemployment. Today we are projected to end our 2017-19 budget with a surplus of $588.5 million and have had 3% or below unemployment for 11 months. Property taxes were lower in 2018 than they were in 2010 on the average Wisconsin home, and the tax burden hasn’t been this low in 50 years. We did all of this while growing our rainy day fund to the largest in the history of the State of Wisconsin.

“Over the past eight years, Republicans have cut taxes by more than $8 billion by responsible budgeting. We agree with Governor Evers that it’s time for a middle-class tax cut. Last week we unveiled our Middle Class Tax Cut proposal. We want to work with the Governor to provide tax relief and give people their money back.

“Because of our decisions in past budgets, we are able to continue to put money into our K-12 schools. Last session we increased state aid by over $634 million, and I look forward to continue investing in our students.

“While our new Governor and I may disagree on some things, I believe our job creation, budget surpluses, lower property taxes, investment in K-12 education and low unemployment rates are strong indicators that Wisconsin’s economy is in great shape.”

Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton)
“I look forward to working with the Governor in his efforts to carry on the successes Wisconsin has had these past years including: record low unemployment, strong job growth, a national leader for healthcare quality, billions of dollars saved in tax relief for hard-working families, and the most actual dollars committed to K-12 education than ever before.

“Under Republican leadership, our state’s economy has been thriving. Governor Evers is being handed a $588.5 million surplus, the second highest opening balance since 2000, and a record setting rainy day fund of $320.1 million – we gave him a fiscally sound Wisconsin. It is my hope the Evers Administration will acknowledge the success of our common sense reforms and continue to fight for families and small businesses.

“It is my duty to my constituents and this state to be skeptical of policies that take our state in a different direction. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to strengthen Wisconsin.”

Rep. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville)
“The state of Wisconsin strong. Reliable Republican leadership of our state has ensured a strong economy, with unemployment at record lows, incomes increasing, poverty decreasing, and UW tuition frozen for the longest period ever.

“There is still work that needs to be done by the political leaders of our state, and I’m hopeful it can begin with bipartisan issues that both Republicans and Democrats across Wisconsin campaigned on. Today, the State Assembly adopted a bill to ensure health care coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. I’m hopeful that this will be the first act signed into law by our new governor.

“I’m looking forward to working with Governor Evers on a middle class tax cut, which he campaigned on, that we can fund with the $588 million budget surplus created under Republican leadership.

“The most important issue to me, however, is ensuring safe roads in our community, which is why I will be making the same request of Governor Evers that I made to Governor Walker, to fix Highway 41 in our district.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Mark Morgan
“After eight years of strong Republican leadership, the State of Wisconsin is stronger than ever. With a booming economy, record surpluses, and more people working than ever before, Wisconsinites have much to celebrate. Unfortunately, we didn't hear any of that tonight from Governor Evers. Instead, our new Governor decided to cater to his base with hyperbolic accusations, vague promises, and a partisan platform that will take Wisconsin backwards. Like much of what we saw from him on the campaign trail, Evers’ speech was completely devoid of any real leadership. This speech makes clear what many Wisconsinites already knew: as Governor, Evers will be nothing more than an empty vessel that special interests and Democrat leaders can use to push their far-left agenda.”

Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette)
“The state of the state is historically strong thanks to the hard work of Republican leadership over the last eight years. But Wisconsinites don't need to hear it from me to know it is true. Unemployment has been at or below 3% for 11 straight months. Funding for our schools is at an all-time high. And the tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years.

“The state’s finances are also strong. We have a budget surplus of nearly $600 million. Our GAAP deficit has been cut by 58% since 2009. State debt has declined in five of the last six years and is the lowest it has been since 2009. And the rainy day fund has a balance of over $300 million, its largest balance ever.

“It is clear that our reforms are working, but we have a lot more to do. Now is not the time to turn back the clock on all the progress we have made. While I look forward to working with Governor Evers on bipartisan efforts, I will not compromise on the values and priorities that led the Wisconsin comeback. We must continue to keep Wisconsin moving forward.”

Rep. John Macco (R-Ledgeview)
“Unlike we heard from Governor Evers tonight, the state of our state is strong!” said Rep. Macco.

“When we look at the facts, Wisconsin is historically strong.

"Unemployment has been at its lowest level in decades and we have the largest state rainy day fund since 2010. The state is running budget surpluses, paying its bills on time, debt is down a full $1 billion and we are paying $4 million a week less in interest payments on our state debt. The tax burden of the average Wisconsin taxpayer is down. On top of that, we are funding K-12 Education at the highest level in nearly a decade!

“With unemployment at historic low levels, Wisconsinites are now relying less on government handouts and subsidies. Taxes have been reduced over the last eight years and, as such, Wisconsinites are keeping more of their hard-earned money. Success should be based on how many families are providing for themselves and no are longer having to rely on the downward spiral of government dependency. The simple fact is that the policies over the past eight years have led to a stronger state, stronger jobs and stronger families. Now is the time to implement policies that will continue to move Wisconsin forward.”

Rep. Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay)
“Governor Tony Evers’ State of the State Address shows that the Governor has a clear agenda that sets politics aside to put the people of Wisconsin first. Like the Governor, I am ready to work with my colleagues in the legislature to move Wisconsin forward, which is exactly what my constituents asked me to do. The people of Green Bay want access to affordable healthcare, they want to see our public schools fully funded, and they want us to fix our roads. So does Governor Evers, and so do I,”

Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac)
“Over the past eight years, prudent choices and fiscal discipline have put Wisconsin on the right track, creating a stable economic environment for private sector growth and providing ordinary families much needed tax relief.

With the lowest tax burden in five decades, our state is expected to generate an additional $2.1 billion in tax revenues over the next two years. Our unemployment rate has been at or below three percent for eleven straight months. It is clear that our state is on a prosperous path.

I am encouraged that Governor Evers has come to realize the value that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) brings to the state’s economic environment. I hope the governor will choose to invest in Wisconsin jobs, Wisconsin businesses, and Wisconsin workers by supporting WEDC in all their economic development efforts.

Since taking office, I have always sought out opportunities to work with my democrat colleagues. In my first session, every bill I authored that became law received bipartisan support. This session I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Governor Evers to keep moving Wisconsin in the right direction.”

Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay)
“After 8 years of divide and conquer from Scott Walker to hear a message of hope it was a breath of fresh air to hear our new governor talking about wanting to work together on behalf of the people for a change.

“He delivered a positive message of hope and a willingness to work together to move Wisconsin forward, not just for the special interests but for all the people, especially those who have been left behind by the policies of the last 8 years.

“It has also been refreshing to see a Governor travelling the state holding listening sessions that are open to anyone who wants to attend them compared to the invite-only affairs that Scott Walker held.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to find common ground on some of the big issues like pre-existing conditions, public school funding, roads and finding ways to create good paying jobs throughout our state.”

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse)
“For too long, we’ve seen misguided priorities under Republican control that favor the wealthy and well connected. This is a new era in our state, and it is refreshing to have a Governor that is committed to focusing on the people of Wisconsin rather than playing political games. Senate Democrats are eager to work with Gov. Evers on the issues impacting Wisconsin families every day. We will deliver on his plan to improve health care, strengthen schools, fix our roads and invest in pro-growth policies that build up the middle class.

“Democrats are committed to lowering property taxes, strengthening local schools and giving Wisconsin children the best possible education by restoring millions in state aid cut by Republicans. We are going to grow our economy from the ground up by raising wages, expanding access to paid sick leave and making child care more affordable for working families. We remain dedicated to jump-starting small business development, investing in 21st century infrastructure by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges and expanding high-speed broadband internet access.

“With Gov. Evers’ leadership, these goals are all within our reach, but we need to find new ways to work together, invest in our communities and expand opportunities for everyone – not just the wealthiest one percent.”

Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton)
“Tonight, Governor Evers put forward a vision and a plan to bring the State of Wisconsin together, to put aside partisan politics, and to work on the issues which unite our citizens regardless of where they live.

“We heard on the campaign trail, that voters want Wisconsin to invest in public education; that they want good roads and a sustainable way to fund them; that they want economic development that works for small business not just big corporations; and that they want high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage for their families.

“Governor Evers has set the tone for the rest of this Legislative Session, putting people above partisanship, and good policy ahead of scoring political points. I hope that Republican Legislators will take the Governor’s message to heart and put the values of their constituents ahead of the political wishes of their leadership.”