Tag Archives: Tony Evers

Evers’ Fake Stat Disappears into the Memory Hole

Well, well

In a press release and on his official Twitter account Evers declared that “drug-related offenses make up as much as 75-85% of inmate populations.” 

The claim is patently false. 

And it appears Team Evers knows that now, too. 

The latest version of the press release on the governor’s web page scrubs the 75-85 percent “fact.” The release now notes, “This is an updated version that corrects an inaccurate statistic that was included in error.” It does not specify what the “inaccurate statistic” was, but the figure’s disappearance and actual facts fill in the blanks. 

As NewsTalk 1130 WISN talk show host Dan O’Donnell noted in his column this week for MacIver News Service, 11 percent of inmates were incarcerated for drug-related offenses, according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ most recent analysis of inmates. 

Evers Vetoes Tax Cut He Promised

I know I’m a little behind. I’ve been busy.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday vetoed the first bill sent to his desk by the Republican-controlled state Legislature — a GOP-backed proposal to cut taxes on middle-income earners in Wisconsin.

In his veto message, Evers said he objected to “passing a major fiscal policy item outside of the biennial budget process, which will begin in less than 10 days.”

I call BS on that statement. He objects because he doesn’t really want tax cuts. He only wants tax redistribution and tax increases. At least, that’s all he has proposed so far.

Work is Good

Yes it is. And Rep. Brandtjen wonders why Governor Evers is against it.

It didn’t take long after Tony Evers was elected governor to signal that he may remove the work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults receiving Medicaid benefits.

This is an inexcusably horrendous idea. What’s wrong with requiring able-bodied people to work for taxpayer- provided benefits? Work is good. People are much happier when they feel a sense of purpose. Why in the world would Tony Evers want to remove incentives to work? It’s almost criminal. Work determines who we are and who we become, it’s our identity; our contribution to ourselves and the greater community. Work should be encouraged because it’s healthy. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that being employed reduces a wide variety of health risks including stress, heart disease and stroke.

[…]

Why wasn’t this issue brought up during the campaign? It’s simple; no one supports encouraging people to fail. This is just another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations. If Tony Evers can justify this position I’d love to hear his rationale.

It seems to me Democrats simply do not value work, jobs or anything else that might make their voters freefrom the economic chains of government programs. It certainly would explain their vehement opposition to the Foxconn project, which would bring thousands of jobs to Wisconsin. Where am I wrong?

Evers Wants to Get Wisconsin High

Heh.

Gov. Tony Evers will propose legalizing medical marijuana in his state budget address later this month, the governor announced Monday.

The push for medical legalization will be accompanied by several other marijuana-related proposals, including legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, establishing expungement procedures for people with marijuana possession on their criminal records and bringing state laws on cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, in line with federal standards.

I suspect one of two things is happening here:

  1. Evers is truly a leftist who wants to legalize pot. Or he has surrounded himself with advisers of that ilk. But if they truly believe in this, it seems disingenuous to put it in the budget instead of advocating it as its own bill.
  2. This is a negotiating tactic for the budget. It is a common negotiating tactic to put things in a proposal that are intended to be jettisoned in exchange for something more important. For example, “sure, I’ll drop the weed proposal if you increase K-12 spending to my level.”

Be wary that this isn’t just designed to distract the public while they ram through massive new spending and taxes.

Evers Promises Another Spending Increase

Boy, they sure are adding up. So far, Evers hasn’t met a spending increase he doesn’t like.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he will “fully fund” a tuition freeze for University of Wisconsin students in his first budget.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers first froze tuition for in-state undergraduate students in 2013. They continued the freeze in every budget since.

Speaking at the annual Superior Days gathering in Madison, Evers hinted that he would propose a tuition freeze of his own.

“We will be releasing our budget soon and we will be funding the tuition freeze,” Evers said. “We will be sure that all the campuses across the state are thriving.”

Tax Cut Works Through Assembly

I like the policy and I like the political tactic.

MADISON – A panel of Republican lawmakers advanced a plan to cut income taxes for middle-class families that Gov. Tony Evers has said he would oppose because of the way it’s funded.

The $338 million plan would reduce an average married couple’s income taxes by about $300 and heads to the Assembly floor next week.

But Evers reiterated he wouldn’t support the plan less than two hours after it passed the Legislature’s finance committee 10-3 over the objection of Democratic members.

“Republicans proved today that they’re more interested in protecting handouts for millionaires than providing tax relief for middle-class families,” Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said about the Republican plan. “Introducing a competing proposal that uses one-time funds and leaves taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in the future isn’t compromise, it’s just fiscally irresponsible.”

But Republican leaders of the finance committee said, “we are delivering a real, middle-class tax cut for Wisconsin families.”

On policy, this is a very simple concept. The State of Wisconsin has a surplus of tax revenue and this would give it back to the taxpayers who paid it. For example, if you overpay for a cup of coffee, you get the surplus back, right? We call it “change.” Evers opposes this simple concept because he doesn’t really want a tax cut. He wants to keep most or all of the surplus and redistribute it back to people he likes. It would be like if you overpaid for that cup of coffee and Barista Evers handed your change to the bum shooting up in the Starbucks’ bathroom. Evers’ policy is neither fair nor right.

On the political front, the Republicans are doing exactly the right thing. Push this tax cut through the legislature and put it on Evers’ desk. Then he will be forced to veto a middle-class tax cut as one of his first acts as governor or let it pass. Hopefully, his better Angels prevail and he gives the taxpayers change for overpaying the cost of government this year.

Evers To End Dark Store Valuation Methodology

Here’s something I can agree with.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A change to the way empty box stores are assessed could reduce your property taxes. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said his state budget proposal will include a provision to close what’s known as the dark store tax loophole.

The governor made the announcement today after speaking at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting in Madison. He hopes that it will help cities across the state increase their tax revenue to pay for projects.

Here’s my column on this from last year.

Evers Sics DNR on Foxconn

Evers is having his newly weaponized DNR rehash old permits. Wisconsin is not open for business.

Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday that state environmental officials will review air-quality permits issued last year to electronics maker Foxconn for its planned $10 billion campus near Racine.

Evers told reporters he discussed the topic with Foxconn officials but doesn’t believe the company is concerned.

“Clearly that’s one area the people of Wisconsin were concerned about, is air quality,” Evers said.

Evers’ comments clarify what he told reporters Friday, following a series of reports suggesting the company’s plans for Wisconsin were in flux.

During the campaign, Evers said scientists told him a flawed process was used to issue the Foxconn air-quality permits. The company’s plan to build a manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant would make it one of the largest sources in southeast Wisconsin for pollutants that create smog. The region already suffers from summer smog problems, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported.

Evers Badgers Foxconn about Environmental Regulations

Gee, is there any wonder why Foxconn might be getting cold feet when this is the first thing they hear from the new governor?

Gov. Tony Evers says he’s confident Foxconn’s leaders understand his concerns around the manufacturer’s environmental impact in Wisconsin.

Addressing RENEW Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Summit yesterday in Madison, the guv said he spoke with Foxconn’s Louis Woo Wednesday night. The special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou told Evers about the company’s plans to keep the waters of Lake Michigan clean.

“I know we’re always concerned about the environmental issues as it related to Foxconn,” Evers said. “I feel confident going forward that they get it, and that we’ll have a good partnership there.”

Still, he said, “we have some things to check up on though.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ SOS

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Stay warm out there!

Gov. Tony Evers took to the Assembly chamber last week to give his first State of the State speech. Evers had a difficult challenge ahead of him. Thanks to his predecessor and the legislative majorities who were just re-elected, the state is in historically good shape, but Evers had to redefine success in order to justify his radical agenda. As we enter an era of divided government in Wisconsin, Evers’ speech was infused with rigid liberal dogma delivered in a confrontational tone. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the speech, however, is how he blundered his way into a completely avoidable controversy.

One of Evers’ campaign promises was that he would withdraw Wisconsin from an ongoing lawsuit regarding Obamacare. That suit is suing to invalidate Obamacare on the grounds that the individual mandate is unconstitutional (it is) and has made good progress in the lower courts. Since several states are involved in the suit, Wisconsin’s withdrawal will not have a measurable effect on the outcome of the case, but withdrawing would be a symbolic gesture to Evers’ radical liberal base.

Knowing that Evers intended to fulfill this promise, the Legislature passed a law in December that requires the governor to gain legislative approval before withdrawing the state from ongoing legal actions. It was a way for the Legislature to add a check to what was a unilateral power of the executive branch.

Governor Evers knew all of this when he declared in his State of the State speech, with great fanfare from the liberals in the room, that “I’m announcing tonight that I have fulfilled a promise I made to the people of Wisconsin by directing Attorney General Kaul to withdraw from a lawsuit … .”

While it made for a great applause line for liberals, Evers was declaring that he had instructed Kaul to withdraw from the Obamacare lawsuit. It is important to note that Evers used the past tense, meaning that he had already issued the instruction to the attorney general. Evers announced this in a statewide, televised speech even though he knew that it was no longer legal for him to unilaterally withdraw from the lawsuit.

Quickly after the speech, Republicans pointed out the error in Evers’ declaration and the attorneys from

the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau reiterated the meaning of the clear language of the law that Evers could not order the attorney general to withdraw from the Obamacare lawsuit.

Within days of Evers’ speech, he had to walk back the order to comply with the law and Attorney General Kaul has dutifully requested that the Legislature approve withdrawing from the lawsuit. The odds are that such approval will not be forthcoming.

Evers’ reaction is quite telling. In a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal, Evers claimed that he understood that the action would require legislative approval and said, “So in my worldview — and I know that’s not everyone’s worldview — there’s nothing inconsistent with what I said and what’s actually going to happen.”

Evers is trying to create an alternate reality where he was in the right. The problem with that is he did not say it in an off-the-cuff remark. He made a formal declaration in his State of the State address. Presumably, such a formal speech had been vetted, reworked, and fact-checked by his staff and himself multiple times before it was delivered. He is an educator by profession and had ample time to write the statement in a way that people could understand his meaning without having to divine Evers’ worldview.

There can only be two rational explanations for Evers’ blunder, and refusal to own up to it. Either Evers is simply a liberal activist who will run roughshod over the law in pursuit of his agenda unless he is checked, or he lacks the competence necessary to write a coherent speech — much less run a state.

Either way, for those of us who were hoping, despite our political differences, for honesty and competence in the Evers governorship, this early bungle does not bode well for the next four years.

Gov. Tony Evers’ SOS

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Check it out online or pick up a copy. It’s about Evers’ abortive and illegal effort to withdraw the state from the Obamacare lawsuit. Here’s a part:

Evers is trying to create an alternate reality where he was in the right. The problem with that is he did not say it in an off-the-cuff remark. He made a formal declaration in his State of the State address. Presumably, such a formal speech had been vetted, reworked, and fact-checked by his staff and himself multiple times before it was delivered. He is an educator by profession and had ample time to write the statement in a way that people could understand his meaning without having to divine Evers’ worldview.

There can only be two rational explanations for Evers’ blunder, and refusal to own up to it. Either Evers is simply a liberal activist who will run roughshod over the law in pursuit of his agenda unless he is checked, or he lacks the competence necessary to write a coherent speech — much less run a state.

Either way, for those of us who were hoping, despite our political differences, for honesty and competence in the Evers governorship, this early bungle does not bode well for the next four years.

 

Evers Throws Shade at GOP Bill Without Reading It

That’s how it’s going to be, eh?

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signaled skepticism of a bill lawmakers are advancing that requires health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions on some — but not all — health plans.

“My point is it’s important that whatever passes the Legislature has to be equal to or better than what exists at the federal level,” Evers told reporters Tuesday, but noted he had not yet read the bill.

Wisconsin No Longer “Open for Business”

Mark Belling broke this story, but it is a jarring signal that one of Evers’ first acts as governor was to strip the state welcome signs of the “open for business” message.

WFRV – On the borders of Wisconsin, the “Open for Business” signs that use to hang on the Wisconsin Welcomes You signs were removed, and one State Senator is now asking for them back.

State Senator Dan Feyen, of Fond du Lac sent a letter to Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan asking that the signs be sent to Feyen’s office where he says “would be happy to find places to display the signs in my office and district office to let our business community know that we are still “Open for Business.”

Feyen said he heard reports that the signs were removed on Monday.

“I ran for office to be a champion for economic development and workforce development and I will continue to be a leader advancing policy that is good for business in Wisconsin. If our small businesses succeed, we all succeed.”

Evers Floats Making 1st Time Drunk Driving Offense a Felony

In a wide-ranging article by the Associated Press comes this little gem.

Evers told WISC-TV that he’s open to criminalizing first-offense drunken driving, something he also said during the campaign. Wisconsin is the only state where a first offense is a traffic infraction and not a crime.

“We have to find ways to make that first offense more meaningful to the offenders so they don’t offend again or don’t offend the first time,” Evers said. “Whether that’s making it a felony or not, I’m not sure.”

There are a lot of folks who think that Wisconsin should criminalize a 1st time drunk driving offense, but I haven’t heard anyone suggest that it should be a felony. So Evers would put someone in prison, deprive them of their vote, and make them marginally employable for the rest of their lives for a first time drunk driving offense? That’s pretty harsh.

Of course, if you read the whole article, you will realize that Evers says a lot of wacky stuff with little thought behind it. His statements reveal that he has little grasp of how state government actually works and has not invested much thought in many issues. Does he know the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? How does he reconcile criminalizing 1st time drunk driving offenses with reducing the prison population?

No. I suspect he just says stuff without the burdensome process of thinking.

 

Evers to Appoint DPI Chief

Whatever. Elections are for suckers.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers plans to appoint Carolyn Stanford Taylor as state superintendent, his Department of Public Instruction announced Thursday.

Stanford Taylor, who currently oversees DPI’s Special Education Team, will officially be appointed on Jan. 7 after Evers is sworn in as guv, per the announcement.

Evers had the option to call a special election to fill the seat. But by making the appointment, Taylor will fill out the remainder of Evers’ term, which ends in April 2021. DPI noted that option was last exercised after Superintendent Herbert Grover resigned in 1993 and then-Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed former Gov. Lee Dreyfus to lead the agency.

Evers begins to stock his cabinet

Here’s my full column from the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Governor-elect Tony Evers is deep into his transition to power and has begun to announce his choices to fill his cabinet. While none of the picks are surprising, they do confirm the kind of governor that Tony Evers intends to be.

To run the Department of Administration, Evers has chosen Joel Brennan, the CEO of the Milwaukee’s Discovery World Science and Technology Museum. Brennan is an old Democratic operative who previously ran Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaigns for governor and mayor. Brennan’s brother-in-law is also a co-chair of Evers’ transition team. Brennan’s deep roots in Wisconsin’s Democratic political structure will put a firm stamp on the Department of Administration.

Evers has chosen Preston Cole to run the Department of Natural Resources. Cole currently works as the commissioner of neighborhood services under Mayor Tom Barrett and has been a member of the DNR’s board since 2007. Garnering praise from Governor Scott Walker, Cole has a degree in forest management and a long history of involvement with environmental management.

Sara Meaney has been chosen by Evers to run Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism. Meaney currently works as the chief marketing and development officer at Milwaukee Film. Meaney has a background in Milwaukee’s arts community and is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Evers has picked Kevin Carr to serve as secretary of the Department of Corrections. Carr is a United States marshal who previously worked for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years.

Brad Pfaff has been selected to run the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Pfaff is another old-time Democratic political insider who worked for Congressman Ron Kind, U.S. SenatorHerb Kohl, as a political appointee in the Obama Administration, and has run for state office as a Democrat in the past.

Evers has chosen Rebecca Valcq to chair the Public Service Commission. Valcq is a lawyer and partner at Milwaukee’s Quarles and Brady law firm. She also spent 15 years working for We Energies as a regulatory attorney.

Mark Afable is to be Wisconsin’s insurance commissioner, pending Senate confirmation. A graduate of Marquette Law, Afable is currently the chief legal officer for American Family Insurance in Madison.

Evers’ most controversial Cabinet choice to date is for Craig Thompson to run the Department of Transportation. Thompson is the executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. In that role for the last decade, he has been a vocal and aggressive lobbyist on behalf of road builders and unions to spend more money on transportation. Thompson’s selection is the strongest signal yet that Evers will push for a massive increase in spending, and the taxes to fund that spending, in the next budget.

Each of Evers’ cabinet choices will have to meet the approval of the Wisconsin state Senate, which remains firmly in Republican control. Under the new rules signed into law a couple of weeks ago, a cabinet appointee who fails to receive confirmation by the Senate will not be allowed to continue to serve in that office or be reappointed. As such, Evers will need to work with the Senate majority to ensure that his choices will gain approval.

In looking at the list of Evers’ appointments so far, one thing really sticks out. Except for Pfaff, every appointee is from Milwaukee or Madison. This makes complete sense when one considers how Evers won the election. His narrow victory was thanks to overwhelming liberal turnout in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The Democratic power base is increasingly concentrated in these two counties, so it stands to reason that a Democratic administration would be filled with operatives from these geographies.

The political divisions in Wisconsin, like in the rest of America, are increasingly along the lines of rural vs. urban instead of left vs. right. At least for the next four years, Wisconsin’s urban interests are going to be in control of the executive branch.

Evers begins to stock his cabinet

My column in the Washington County Daily News this week is about Tony Evers and his cabinet choices. Here’s a little piece.

In looking at the list of Evers’ appointments so far, one thing really sticks out. Except for Pfaff, every appointee is from Milwaukee or Madison. This makes complete sense when one considers how Evers won the election. His narrow victory was thanks to overwhelming liberal turnout in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The Democratic power base is increasingly concentrated in these two counties, so it stands to reason that a Democratic administration would be filled with operatives from these geographies.

The political divisions in Wisconsin, like in the rest of America, are increasingly along the lines of rural vs. urban instead of left vs. right. At least for the next four years, Wisconsin’s urban interests are going to be in control of the executive branch.

Public input on the next state budget

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. I don’t have any illusions about Evers actually listening to my view, but he asked for public input…

Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes have announced they will hold four public listening sessions before Christmas to get the public’s input on the upcoming state budget. The four sessions will be today in Green Bay, Wednesday in Wausau, Dec. 18 in La Crosse and Dec. 19 in Milwaukee.

Since all four sessions begin during working hours and, like most tax-paying Wisconsinites, I work for a living, I will not be able to attend and give the incoming administration my thoughts in person. This column will have to suffice.

As the Legislature and governor begin the process of crafting the next state budget, they must do so with the understanding that Wisconsin is not immune from the economic winds blowing across the nation. While the underlying economic metrics remain strong, several leading indicators, including the wild movements in the stock market, foretell a looming recession within the next year or two.

Since Wisconsin uses a biennial budget, it is likely the next recession will come during the budget our elected officials are about to write. They must write that budget understanding recessions always lead to a decrease in state tax revenue while making higher demands on state services like welfare and Badger-Care. To that end, the overriding objective of the next state budget should be to reduce spending, reduce taxes and continue to pump money into the state’s rainy day fund, because rainy days are in the forecast.

From a revenue standpoint, the state of Wisconsin is in great shape. Thanks to the series of tax cuts that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators have delivered over the past few years, tax revenue is flowing into state coffers at historic levels. There is no shortage of money for politicians to spend.

While the Republicans have done a tremendous job in the previous few budgets, they have failed to reduce spending. Despite claims to the contrary, every single state budget for the last generation or more has spent more than the previous budget. Granted, the Republicans did not increase spending as much as the Democrats wanted to, but they increased spending nonetheless.

The vast majority of state spending is spent on a handful of budget priorities. One cannot seriously reduce spending without looking to the big budget items. The first area Evers and the Legislature should look is at education spending.

In the previous state budget, the state massively increased state spending on K-12 education. The data continues to show that once fundamental needs are met, spending more money on schools does not improve educational outcomes for the kids. Smarter spending does. The state should reduce overall spending on K-12 education while helping local districts develop more focused curricula through the Department of Public Instruction. The goal should be to use data-driven initiatives to improve actual outcomes. The goal should not be to see who can spend the most money.

Furthermore, the most recent state testing data shows that Wisconsin choice schools are outperforming government schools, and they do so for a lesser cost. The next state budget should further expand school choice to push money and kids to schools that provide better outcomes for those kids.

The other large state education expense is the UW System. Here again, the state should reduce state spending to force the needed reforms that UW officials refuse to take. Enrollment is in steep decline across the UW System except for their flagship university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Yet the campuses are still overbuilt and there are too many of them for too few students. The state budget should reduce UW spending, continue the tuition freeze, and encourage the UW regents to consolidate and streamline the system’s structure.

The next state budget should also move the Wisconsin Retirement System from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. Even though the WRS system is one of the few solvent state pension funds, a few years of bad decisions could change that and force the state into a miserable state like Illinois. Wisconsin should get ahead of the curve and give government employees a retirement plan more in line with what the vast majority of taxpayers have. Not only would this have the benefit of erecting a backstop against budgetary ruin, but it would encourage a healthy turnover of government employees who are not wedded to their pension.

The next state budget should also cut transportation spending and enact reforms to get more “road for our buck.” Some of the reforms in the bills passed by the Legislature last week take positive steps in this direction. Other Midwestern states manage to spend far less than Wisconsin per mile of road and have higher quality ratings. Now that the megaprojects in southeast Wisconsin are nearing completion, Wisconsin needs to rein in spending.

I could go on for another dozen columns. The state budget has no shortage of unnecessary or wasteful spending. If Evers and the Legislature do not reduce spending before the tax revenues fall during the next recession, the citizens of Wisconsin will be left footing the bill for their neglect when they can least afford it.

Public input on the next state budget

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in print and online. Go get a copy! Here’s a taste:

Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes have announced they will hold four public listening sessions before Christmas to get the public’s input on the upcoming state budget. The four sessions will be today in Green Bay, Wednesday in Wausau, Dec. 18 in La Crosse and Dec. 19 in Milwaukee.

Since all four sessions begin during working hours and, like most tax-paying Wisconsinites, I work for a living, I will not be able to attend and give the incoming administration my thoughts in person. This column will have to suffice.

As the Legislature and governor begin the process of crafting the next state budget, they must do so with the understanding that Wisconsin is not immune from the economic winds blowing across the nation. While the underlying economic metrics remain strong, several leading indicators, including the wild movements in the stock market, foretell a looming recession within the next year or two.

Since Wisconsin uses a biennial budget, it is likely the next recession will come during the budget our elected officials are about to write. They must write that budget understanding recessions always lead to a decrease in state tax revenue while making higher demands on state services like welfare and Badger-Care. To that end, the overriding objective of the next state budget should be to reduce spending, reduce taxes and continue to pump money into the state’s rainy day fund, because rainy days are in the forecast.

From a revenue standpoint, the state of Wisconsin is in great shape. Thanks to the series of tax cuts that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators have delivered over the past few years, tax revenue is flowing into state coffers at historic levels. There is no shortage of money for politicians to spend.

While the Republicans have done a tremendous job in the previous few budgets, they have failed to reduce spending. Despite claims to the contrary, every single state budget for the last generation or more has spent more than the previous budget. Granted, the Republicans did not increase spending as much as the Democrats wanted to, but they increased spending nonetheless.

The vast majority of state spending is spent on a handful of budget priorities. One cannot seriously reduce spending without looking to the big budget items. The first area Evers and the Legislature should look is at education spending.

Evers Forms Criminal Justice Panel

Goodness. “Making of a Murder” was a factual train wreck and Butler was run out of office for his soft on crime attitude. I see that when Evers says “prioritizing people,” he means crooks and violent criminals – not the people they victimize.

In a statement Monday announcing the panel, Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes also emphasized the state’s racial incarceration disparity and said it’s time “to start prioritizing people, not prisons.”

The new panel includes Dean Strang, who gained international fame for his defense of Steven Avery in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” and former state Supreme Court justices Louis Butler and Janine Geske.

Other notable names include:

  • Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney;
  • Kelli Thompson, who heads the state Public Defender’s Office;
  • Matt Frank, former state Department of Natural Resources Secretary and former Assistant State Attorney General;
  • Milwaukee County Chief Deputy Sheriff Denita Ball;
  • Rick Raemisch, former state Department of Corrections Secretary and former Dane County Sheriff, who now leads the Colorado Department of Corrections;
  • Walter Dickey, University of Wisconsin Law School professor and former state Department of Corrections Secretary;
  • Angela Lang, director of the Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities;
  • Jim Palmer, who heads the state’s police union.

The announcement Monday said the panel aims to “bring together people from all sides of the criminal justice system” to work on possible criminal justice changes.