Mental health, child care funding included in Evers’ State of the State wish list | Local News

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday during the first State of the State address of his second term that he wants to spend roughly $1.3 billion on state programs. 

That came the day before the Legislative Fiscal Bureau raised the projection for the state’s surplus to more than $7 billion, the highest in state history. 

READ MORE: In State of the State Address, Evers declares Wisconsin to be in best-ever fiscal position

With both of those figures, what would be included in Evers’ $1.3 billion figure?

Mental health funding

During Tuesday’s speech, the governor declared 2023 the “Year of Mental Health” in Wisconsin, and backed that call with funds. The largest portion of the funds — $500 million — would go toward increasing access to mental health services in the state. 

Included in that figure is $270 million specifically for increasing resources in schools, and would be a continuation of a program the governor spent federal COVID-19 dollars on. 

Supporting child care

The next-largest piece — close to $400 million — Evers is calling to spend on different child care programs in the state. Three hundred forty million dollars of that would help subsidize child care providers directly, while additional funds would go toward a child care tax credit and additional programs. 

Additional funds

The rest of the proposals include $100 million for what Evers called a three-pronged approach of testing, sampling and monitoring, to addressing the prevalence of PFAS in Wisconsin. 

“We’re going to work to increase awareness about the dangers of PFAS so folks can take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” the governor said in his speech. 

He added that he would also put $100 million into programs to address workforce issues in the state. 

Whatever Evers decides to include in his budget draft will have to be approved by the state Legislature. After the governor’s speech Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters Republicans are all but sure to start from scratch. 

The governor is expected to deliver his budget to the Legislature in February. 

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