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Local News

Evers administration requests release of $25 million for child care and tourism


by Baylor Spears, Wisconsin Examiner
May 22, 2024

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration is requesting that the Republican-led budget committee release $25 million in funds that would go towards supporting child care providers and tourism in Wisconsin.

It’s unclear whether lawmakers will release the funds. The requests come as Republican committee leaders and Evers have been in a stalemate over several funding release requests made by the administration, including for over $125 million to combat PFAS, $50 million to implement new literacy programs and $15 million meant to support hospitals in the Chippewa Valley. The disagreements about specifics on how the money for those initiatives should be spent has led to veto override attempts in the Senate and lawsuits from the Legislature and Evers.

In an emailed statement to the Examiner, the co-chairs of the committee Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) didn’t indicate whether the committee would meet to vote on the requests. 

“The Joint Committee on Finance will review these requests just like we review all 13.10 [funding] requests,” Born and Marklein wrote. 

$10 million for tourism fund

WEDC’s second request to the budget committee is for $10 million that would be used to attract and support large-scale events in Wisconsin. 

The funding would be used to establish the “Opportunity Attraction and Promotion Fund,” which would be used to assist communities with the costs of major events. 

“Wisconsin’s tourism industry is a huge part of our state’s success — creating over $20 billion in economic impact and supporting over 100,000 jobs statewide each year,” Evers said, noting that the NFL draft will be held in Green Bay in 2025 and that other opportunities to expand tourism are happening including a new Amtrak Borealis Train connecting St. Paul to Chicago straight through central Wisconsin and the recent designation of the Ice Age Trail as a national park

“We want to continue growing our tourism industry and investing in one of our state’s largest economic engines by promoting Wisconsin as a major destination for some of our country’s largest events,” Evers said. 

Wisconsin Act 169, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Evers in March, specifies the requirements for the funding that would help create the Opportunity Attraction and Promotion Fund program within WEDC to award grants to eligible applicants for major opportunities and events that will draw national exposure and drive economic development and visitors to Wisconsin. Under the law, successful applicants will be able to use grant funds to bid against states and jurisdictions outside Wisconsin to attract an event to Wisconsin and to host any events secured through a competitive bid.

In response to a question about whether she foresees any roadblocks to the release of the tourism money by the budget committee, Roys said that she hopes Sen. Marklein’s “‘review process’ recognizes the fact that the Legislature and executive branch are equal branches of government.” She said that when the executive branch requests the release of funds that are within the scope in which they were already approved by the state Legislature and Evers, then the “Joint Finance Committee should approve the release of those funds — NOT obstruct agencies from serving Wisconsinites with the funds the legislature already agreed to give them.”

This story is republished from Wisconsin Examiner under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.