(The Center Square) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ announcement he will give $170 million to child care providers in the state is not going over well with the Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu accused the governor of misleading families across the state.
“Gov. Evers vetoed the largest tax cut in state history and then spent months going around the state telling child care providers that they were going to have to close their doors when he could have used ARPA money to preserve Child Care Counts all along,” LeMahieu said. “Governing isn’t a game, and Gov. Evers continues to irresponsibly play games with Wisconsin families’ budgets for political purposes.”
Evers announced he plans to use leftover federal COVID-19 money to keep the Child Care Counts program going for another year.
The governor wanted lawmakers to approve $350 million for the program, even calling a special session last month to try and force a vote.
Evers said he is simply keeping his promise by ordering the money to be spent.
“While I’m keeping my promise today, I also want to be clear – while I am hopeful this investment will stave off an urgent collapse of our state’s child care industry, this stopgap measure isn’t a permanent solution to the looming child care crisis facing our state,” Evers said.
The governor’s office said that without the $170 million some daycare centers across the state would have closed or would have had to raise prices on families.
Last week, LeMahieu offered to vote for child care funding if the governor signed a $2 billion income tax cut. The governor never responded to that offer, and then announced his child care spending plan.
Evers says Wisconsin has plenty of money in the new State Surplus to pay an even larger child care subsidy.
“We have billions of dollars readily available to make real, meaningful investments to finally address the pressing issues facing our state. It’s time for Republicans to get serious about solving problems and join us in doing the right thing for our kids and families, our workforce, and our state,” Evers said.
LeMahieu is not giving up on cutting taxes. He said the state senate was expected to vote on its $2 billion income tax cut proposal during Tuesday’s session.