Jul 8, 2023 - Economy & Business

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' adventures with line-item vetoes

The cunning line-item vetos

The official Wisconsin two-year spending plan, as partially vetoed

In Wisconsin, the governor can veto the tiniest parts of a bill, even unto deleting the first two digits of a year and the hyphen following them.

Why it matters: Thus does "2024–25" become "2425," and thus does a spending increase designed (by the legislature) to last for two years become one designed (by the governor) to last for over 400 years.

What they're saying: "Through the governor’s veto, the budget provides per pupil revenue limit adjustment authority of $179 plus $146 for a total of $325 in each year from 2023-24 until 2425," says Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' official press release. (Evers, it's worth noting, is a former state education secretary and teacher.)

  • In other words: Assuming the legislature doesn't change the law in the future, school districts are allowed to increase their revenues by $325 per pupil per year for the next 402 years.

The bottom line: As Otto von Bismarck famously said: "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made."

Go deeper