Gov. Tony Evers hasn't yet decided how to wield his veto pen on the state budget, and he says he won't make any decisions on using his partial or full veto authority until the two-year spending plan hits his desk.
The Wisconsin budget committee officially finished its work on the document last week, and the state Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on it the last week of the month before sending it to Evers.
"Certainly we’re looking at all the things that have been passed and certainly (there are) lots of things that we have concerns about, but at the end of the day we won’t be making any decisions until we see what comes out of both houses," Evers told reporters at the Capitol Monday.
He also said he hasn't yet met with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, or Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, to try to persuade them to make changes to the budget. But he added his office will be "making contact" between now and when the houses meet.
Evers criticized the Republican transportation budget plan for relying on fee raises, rather than a gas tax increase, to fund roads, saying the GOP way doesn't force people from out-of-state who use Wisconsin's roads to shoulder the higher costs.
"It just doesn't make sense to me," he said, though he cautioned he won't be making any decisions on the language without seeing the full budget.
The Republican plan would generate $393 million in additional revenue through a $95 title fee transfer increase and raising the vehicle registration fee by $10. But it didn't include Evers' proposed 8-cent gas tax hike or proposal to again index it to the consumer price index.
In all, Evers’ budget proposal sought to generate $623.8 million in revenue over the biennium, with the bulk of it — $529.5 million — stemming from his gas tax increases.
Evers also weighed in on a proposal that would require public safety officials to look at ways to bolster security measures in and around the state Capitol.
While he said safety is a priority, he added it was "unsettling" that neither Democrats nor the city of Madison were notified ahead of time about the plan.
"Communicating about it should have been a little bit better," he said.
Meanwhile, Evers said he hasn't seen or talked to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report on Friday that showed Barnes is delinquent on his property taxes for his Milwaukee condominium.
"But if he owes money, he owes money and he should pay it," Evers said of Barnes.
The report found Barnes has failed to pay $2,225 in taxes, interest and penalties for the property.
Barnes wrote in a series of tweets that his check's "in the mail" and he "Can't believe it's gotten this ridiculous. Except that I actually can."