Wisconsin Governor Raises School Funding For 400 Years Via 'Partial Veto'

This is an era in which executive power is running amok at all levels of government. Many times, those powers are usurped. However, on Wednesday, Wisconsin's governor put on an exhibition of extreme executive authority that has been explicitly granted to him, as he unilaterally amended a law so that it now mandates annual school spending increases for the next four centuries

Under Wisconsin's "partial veto" law -- which is the most extreme in the union -- governors can eliminate words and digits in a bill so long as they don't combine multiple sentences to create new sentences.

The bill that was before Democratic Governor Tony Evers authorized $325-per-student annual spending increase "for the 2023-24 school year and the 2024-25 school year."  Evers, himself a former teacher and state school superintendent, slashed the 20 and the hyphen from the 2025-25, thus making it refer to the year 2425 (if man is still alive). 

Partial vetoes are rarely overridden in the state, given it requires a two-thirds majority. A subsequent legislature and governor can nix the four-century spending increase plan, but unless they do, it's now the default path for Wisconsin school spending. 

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called Evers' 400-year veto "an unprecedented brand-new way to screw the taxpayer...that was never imagined by a previous governor and certainly wouldn’t by anybody who thinks there is a fair process in Wisconsin.”

The partial veto power forces legislatures to devote extra time and energy to try thwarting the kind of monkey business Evers pulled on Wednesday. For example, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Republicans are now careful to use "cannot" instead of "may not," as the latter phrasing allows a governor to strike the word "not" and enact a law that completely inverts the legislature's intent. 

wisconsin governor raises school funding for 400 years via partial veto
Gov. Tony Evers displays the two-year budget at a Wednesday signing ceremony (AP Photo/Harm Venhuizen via
Fox News)

Democrats haven't been the only ones to abuse Wisconsin's partial veto power. In 2017, Scott Walker extended the expiration of a program authorizing increased spending on energy efficient programs for a thousand yearsAnd while Evers made 51 partial vetoes this year, Republican Tommy Thompson is the record-holder with a whopping 457 of them in 1991. 

Voters in the Badger State have twice voted to curtail the partial veto

In 1990, voters took away the “Vanna White veto,” which had allowed governors to strike individual letters in words to create new words. In 2008, voters rejected the “Frankenstein veto,” which had involved combining parts of two or more sentences to create a new sentence." -- The New York Times

Despite those moves, governors keep making mischief. In addition to the 400-year alteration, Evers also gutted a GOP-led income tax cut, reducing its size from $3.5 billion to just $175 million, while also nixing a reduction in the number of tax brackets. 

Looks like Wisconsin citizens who believe in limited executive power better go back to the drawing board. 

Authored by By Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge July 7th 2023