Joint Committee on Finance Concludes Budget Work
This afternoon, the Joint Committee on Finance completed its work on the 2019-2021 biennial state budget. The committee’s budget work began over three months following Governor Tony Evers’ budget address on February 28.
The Joint Committee on Finance began its work in March by receiving testimony from state agency secretaries on funding issues facing their departments. Following those hearings, the committee traveled the state throughout April to hold public hearings and gain input from Wisconsin citizens. Beginning on May 9, the committee met weekly to vote on and amend each provision in the Governor’s proposal. In total, the committee met ten times to vote on amendments.
As Wisconsin’s first Democratic governor in eight years, Governor Evers introduced what many in the Republican-controlled legislature believed to be a progressive Democratic wish list of funding items. As was expected, the Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Finance significantly changed the governor’s original proposal. Following are some highlights of the committee’s work over the last six weeks.
General Fund Taxation
- Provide a $457 million income tax cut
Department of Health Services
- Reject the Governor’s proposal to accept federal Medicaid Expansion dollars
- Provide $917 million total in funding for Medicaid services
- Provide $24 million for increases to physician reimbursements
Department of Transportation
- Reject the Governor’s proposal to increase the gas tax
- Provide over $480 million new in transportation funding
- Raise new revenue for the transportation fund by increasing vehicle title fees by $95.00 and vehicle registration fees by $10.00
- Provide funding to study the viability of a future transportation fee based on annual miles travelled
K-12 School Funding
- Provide over $500 million in new funding for public schools
Department of Natural Resources
- Extend the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program through June 30, 2022 at $33.25 million annually for acquisition of public land
- Provide $100,000 for research on genetic resistance to chronic wasting disease (CWD in farmed deer.
- Provide over $17 million in new budgetary funds to the Department for staff, salary, turnover reduction other personnel purposes
State Building Program
- Provide $1.9 billion for new state building projects
- Approve the construction, renovation, or planning of over 50 state buildings, including land acquisition for a new maximum security prison and renovations and additions to Camp Randall Stadium
The Joint Committee on Finance approved their amendments on a 12 to 4 party line today. Their recommendations will be incorporated into an amendment to Governor Evers’ original budget proposal.
Both houses of the legislature will likely plan to vote on the amendment in the coming weeks. Governor Evers has not yet stated if he will sign or veto the bill. He also has the option to veto specific sections of the proposal.
Stay tuned to the HC Report as action on the state budget continues.