Wisconsin governor vows budget veto if GOP cuts diversity funds from university system

FILE - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks during the annual State of the State address, Jan. 24, 2023, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin's budget forecast dipped slightly Monday, May 15, but the latest projection still calls for the state to collect about $6.9 billion more than anticipated by the end of June. The new projection comes as lawmakers, Evers and others are trying to strike a deal on a new, multibillion-dollar aid plan for local governments ahead of a vote Wednesday, May 17, in the state Assembly. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday in a newspaper report that he won’t sign the state budget if Republican lawmakers follow through on their plan to cut funding for the state university system’s diversity officers, escalating a bitter fight over dollars for the state campuses.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he wants to cut $32 million from the UW System in the state’s 2023-25 budget, an amount he said is equal to what the system spends on diversity officers. He said during a news conference Wednesday that diversity efforts have become liberals’ “new religion” and tax dollars shouldn’t be used to help them.

Evers, a Democrat and a former UW regent, tweeted Tuesday that the cut would be “disastrous” for the UW System. He told reporters during a tour of a cheese manufacturer in Monroe on Wednesday that he wouldn’t sign the budget if Republicans follow through, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

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