'Here & Now' Highlights: Gov. Tony Evers, Kevin Bahr

Here's what guests on the March 29, 2024 episode said what was and wasn't addressed in Wisconsin's latest legislative session and politicized perceptions of the economy.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

April 1, 2024

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Frederica Freyberg sits at a desk on the Here & Now set and faces a video monitor showing an image of Tony Evers.

Frederica Freyberg and Gov. Tony Evers (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has been taking action on bills — signing and vetoing — sent to him from the Republican-controlled state Legislature, but said it’s those that never made it to his desk that he laments. UW-Stevens Point economic analyst Kevin Bahr said political messaging helps persuade people on whether the economy is strong or weak.

Gov. Tony Evers
(D) Wisconsin

  • The Wisconsin Legislature wrapped up its planned 2023-24 session in mid-March. Asked what he believed to be his most important vetoes of those bills that were passed, Evers said it was many proposals that never made it through the Legislature that he regrets. He pointed to expanded Medicaid leave for new mothers, early counting of absentee ballots and continued funding for childcare.
  • Evers: “I’m concerned about all the ones that just never made it to me that weren’t agreed on. We didn’t have a chance of you doing essentially the postpartum piece, where we could give women a full year instead of 60 days, making sure that our people at the polls can open envelopes a day before so that they’re not screwing around on Election Day. There’s a whole number of things that, frankly, didn’t happen. And, the one thing that I’ll continue to advocate for that is critical is child care. Our child care operations in the state are just barely hanging in there, and if we want to have a strong economy, we need a strong industry of child care. So those are things that I didn’t veto — we just never got there.”


Kevin Bahr
Chief analyst, UW-Stevens Point Center for Business and Economic Insight

  • When it comes to the U.S. economy, Inflation rates have declined, there is low unemployment and wages have been climbing. However, the now higher costs of staples – including food – has many declaring the economy is in the tank. Bahr said views on the economy are being filtered through a political lens.
  • Bahr: “I think political messaging plays a big factor. Well, let me throw something out just so we try to hit both sides of the aisle, if you will.The global price of oil tanked from $70 to about $25 a barrel in the first half of 2020. So oil companies cut their production, lowered their levels of inventory. You couldn’t blame Trump for the reduction in oil production. And there’s global factors at play as far as food prices. I don’t think Biden should be blamed for that. … We’ve had a very strong economy, strong demand, strong job market– a lot of people are working.”


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