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Lawmakers ask Evers for discussion

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders on Monday called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to meet with them to discuss his plans for spending $3.2 billion in federal stimulus money coming to the state.

Evers last week said that discussing his plans for the spending money with Republicans was not a “top priority.” State law gives the governor the power to decide how to spend the money, and Evers has vetoed bills passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that would give lawmakers control.

Evers has already announced up to $420 million of that money coming to the state would go toward a grant program targeting small businesses. He has promised to spend $600 million of the federal money on small businesses. He also has promised to spend $50 million on tourism, $200 million on infrastructure, including broadband access and $500 million on pandemic response measures, but has not released details.

Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback did not immediately comment on the Republican call for a meeting. The letter to Evers came from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and the co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Mark Born.

“We invite you to meet with us to share your plans for the federal funding as soon as possible,” the Republicans wrote. “We are eager to add your plans to the state budget discussion so that we may dedicate precious state resources to the priorities of all Wisconsinites.”

Republicans said having the information is an “essential” part of the process of writing the budget.

The budget committee’s co-chairs have already announced they plan to start their work on Thursday by killing nearly 300 of Evers’ proposals before rewriting the spending plan over the next several weeks.

Evers last week downplayed Republican concerns about not having all the details of how the federal money will be spent, saying the budget committee will be able to complete its work.

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