Gov. Tony Evers released his 2023-25 state budget Wednesday night, which includes key environmental provisions aimed at protecting Wisconsin communities, preserving our state’s critical natural resources, and harnessing the talents of our workforce to put the state on the path toward a clean energy future.
“We challenge the legislature to follow the governor’s leadership and craft a budget that includes these important solutions to Wisconsin’s most pressing environmental problems,” says Clean Wisconsin President and CEO Mark Redsten.
Addressing PFAS Pollution
The Governor is proposing more than $106 million to help communities across the state dealing with toxic PFAS pollution. That funding would support community efforts to address drinking water polluted with PFAS, increase PFAS testing and bolster resources at the Department of Natural Resources to respond to the growing crisis.
“Wisconsin’s drinking water challenges must be met with bold action, and with this budget proposal, Governor Evers continues to show leadership in addressing PFAS pollution. This is a crisis, and we have to treat it like one,” says Clean Wisconsin Water Program Director Scott Laeser. “Families want to know what is in their water and whether it is safe to drink, and if it’s not, we need decisive action to fix it. Wisconsinites deserve a state government committed to protecting their health and upholding their right to clean drinking water, and we look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to invest in Wisconsin families to ensure their drinking water is safe.”
Caring for Our Forests
Evers’ budget provides $4.4 million to support planting and managing trees across millions of acres of public land in Wisconsin, including $395,000 a year for reforestation of state-owned land and $250,000 for county forests, along with $128,300 annually to support wildlife habitat management on county forest lands.
“Protecting and restoring forests is crucial for our environment and our way of life here in Wisconsin,” says Clean Wisconsin Science Program Director Paul Mathewson. “Healthy forests clean pollutants from our air and water and are home to countless species of plants and wildlife. They also absorb carbon dioxide and act as natural air conditioners, helping us mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
Evers is proposing an increase in shared revenue, which is the state money that goes to local governments. The amount of shared revenue Wisconsin cities receive has stagnated over the last two decades, putting vital programs at risk, including local sustainability and resilience efforts.
Boosting Shared Revenue
“As municipalities face huge fiscal hurdles, Governor Evers’ proposal to boost shared revenue is of utmost importance,” says Clean Wisconsin Resilient Communities Program Director Nancy Retana. “Climate risks disproportionally affect traditionally underserved populations that are more exposed and more vulnerable to their impacts. Improving local investments creates resilient communities in the face of climate change that is draining municipal budgets.”
Investing in a Clean Energy Workforce
The budget also invests $8 million in training a clean energy workforce in Wisconsin. More than 76,000 Wisconsinites already work in fields like energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and clean transportation, and those fields are expected to see significant growth in the coming decade.
The Governor’s proposed budget also includes:
- Doubling funding for Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s popular energy efficiency program
- $2.4 million for programs to help Wisconsin farmers reduce fertilizer and manure runoff and encourage the use of cover crops
- Putting the Office of Environmental Justice into state statute
“Clean Wisconsin is grateful for Governor Evers’ leadership and steadfast support for our shared priorities,” said Clean Wisconsin Government Relations Director Erik Kanter. “As his proposal makes its way through the legislature’s budget process, we will fight for initiatives that provide Wisconsin families with safe drinking water and clean, efficient energy.”