Wisconsin Assembly Republicans outline priorities to Evers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Assembly Republicans delivered what they called a “gesture of our goodwill” to the newly installed Democratic governor on Thursday, outlining some areas where they think they might find common ground.

In a letter delivered to Gov. Tony Evers, the GOP lawmakers said they were trying to be helpful in detailing such areas, including an income tax cut, a school funding increase and a reduction in borrowing to pay for roadwork.

The Republicans also said the first bill they intend to pass is a state-level guarantee that people with pre-existing health conditions can’t be denied insurance, which is already guaranteed by the federal health care law that Republicans have strenuously opposed since its inception during Barack Obama’s presidency. The Assembly passed a pre-existing conditions bill in 2017 but it died in the Senate and on Monday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he didn’t want to “overpromise” by suggesting it would fare better this year.

Evers has many of the priorities outlined by the Republicans but supports different approaches to reaching those goals. For example, he wants to cut income taxes by 10 percent but wants to compensate for it by reducing a tax break for corporations, which Republicans oppose.

Evers has proposed increasing spending on K-12 education by 10 percent, or $1.4 billion. A bipartisan task force released a report last week that also called for significant increases in funding, but it did not say by how much.

Evers, that task force and Assembly Republicans all say they want the state to provide two-thirds funding for schools, which would increase overall state school aid by about $130 million a year.

Evers’ spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking reaction to the Republicans’ letter.

Some of the other Republican priorities include:

— Enhancing high-speed internet access.

— Expanding the SeniorCare prescription drug program to cover flu shots.

— Working to reduce homelessness.

— Providing more options to reduce the cost of child care for working parents.

— Increasing access to clean water. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos earlier this month formed a clean water task forcefollowing reports of contaminated wells in southwestern Wisconsin.

— Investing more in state-owned properties.

— Doing more to attract and retain highly qualified state employees.

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