The Joint Finance Committee
continued their Executive Session work on the budget this week, taking up a
number of important areas.
session: Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board, Kickapoo Reserve
Management Board, State Fair Park, Elections Commission, Ethics Commission,
Administration -- General Agency Provisions, Health Services -- Care and
Treatment Services, Children and Families -- Departmentwide, Children and
Families -- Child Support
Thursday's session: Labor and Industry Review Commission, Wisconsin
Technical College System, Historical Society, Shared Revenue -- Direct Aid
Payments, Shared Revenue -- Property Tax Credits, Shared Revenue -- Property
Taxation, Shared Revenue -- Local Revenue Options
Elections Commission - Voted
to add 5 new positions to help administer election law across the state.
This increase in positions will help the Commission ensure our elections
are fair and free of fraud.
DOA: Hearings and Appeals
- Approved Governorís recommendations allowing Division of Hearing and
Appeals to transmit electronic copies of administrative proceedings to
courts, but removed recommendation to allow for electronic recordings of
workerís compensation hearings. Instead, the issue will be studied to
ensure proper implementation.
DHS: Youth Crisis Stabilization
Facilities - Created
definition and certification process for youth crisis stabilization
facilities. Sometimes these facilities are a better option for young
people struggling with mental health issues. Provided $1,245,500 in
funding for the facilities on a one-time basis and required DHS to
include a plan for ongoing grant funding in its 2019-21 budget request.
DHS: Peer-Run Respite Centers for
Veterans - Governor
proposed funding to establish a peer-run respite center that provides
services to veterans who suffer from mental health or addiction issues.
The Committee voted to modify the Governorís recommendation to ensure
the Department budgets for this center in the future, and created a new
sum certain appropriation for the center in 2018-19 to ensures it is
being funded appropriately.
DHS: Sex Offender Placement -
Approved changes to the residency placement portion of the supervised
release program for sexually violent persons. The changes create a new
authority which will give the home county more local control with these
DHS: Combating Child Sex Trafficking
- Increased funding for services for victims of child sex trafficking
from $4M to $6M over the biennium.
DHS: Runaway Services
- Republican members of the Committee voted to increase funding for
child runaway services by $100,000.
Labor Industry Review Commission
- Voted to keep the commission in place, but reduce positions that are
currently vacant due to a decreased caseload.
Technical College System
- The committee declined to adopt the Governor's proposed tuition cut
for the tech college system and instead reallocated $5 million from the
cut to needs based scholarships for tech college students. The
Governor's proposed changes to the performance based funding model that
has been in place since 2014-15 were also rejected by the committee.
Finally, the Educational Approval Board (EAB), which approves and
supervises for-profit and some non-profit institutions, was moved under
the authority of the Department of Safety and Professional Services. All
positions under the EAB will be transferred in the move as well.
- Governor Walker's proposal did not fully fund the anticipated lease
costs for the State Archive and Preservation Facility so the committee
worked with the DOA to lower the lease charge rate to more accurately
reflect lease costs. The committee also approved the Governor's
recommendation to operate Circus World Museum as a historical site
within the Historical Society.
Shared Revenue: Personal Property
Tax - The committee adopted a motion that removed the requirement
for businesses to calculate and report the property value of computers
for aid payments. Instead, municipalities will receive reimbursement
increases at the rate of inflation. The committee also modified the
Governor's proposal regarding Volkswagen settlement funds. Instead of
providing $16 million for state fleet replacement and $26 million for
Milwaukee to replace aging transit buses, the committee provided $6
million for state fleet replacement and $32 million in funding for
municipalities to finance the cost of eligible transit vehicles.
Shared Revenue: Property Tax Credits
- The Governor proposed realigning the Homestead Tax Credit with its
original intent by limiting eligibility to individuals over the age of
62, individuals with a disability, or individuals with earned income.
This proposal was adopted by the committee
Revenue: Property Taxation -
Current law allows municipalities to increase levies to make debt
service payments on debt issued before 2005. After the debt has been
retired the municipalities are not required to lower its levy back to
the previous amount. The committee approved the Governor's
recommendation to require municipalities to lower levies back to the
original amount once the debt is retired. This will lower property taxes
in various municipalities.
The state of Wisconsin spends a lot of money
each year on infrastructure to house its employees, equipment, and programs.
Depending on the program or agency's needs, some of the buildings are owned
by the state, while others are leased. Currently, we spend roughly $60m a
year on state leases. In an effort to continue making government more
efficient and cost-effective, we are currently looking at legislation to
reform state leasing practices.
This week in the State Affairs Committee, we
voted in favor of
AB 205, a bill from Rep. Hutton that will help ensure we're not
The most egregious example of state
government signing a bad lease is the Department of Corrections Headquarters
here in Madison. The annual lease payment for the building is $4,955,044. In
2005, Governor Doyle extended the lease until 2016. In 2009, he inexplicably
extended the lease again until 2021. By the time this lease is up, the state
will have spent nearly $50m between 2010-2020 to lease a building that is
only worth $14m. This is a bad deal, and the state should do better.
AB 205 create safeguards to help prevent
another DOC Headquarters situation:
Requires any lease over $500,000 to be
signed by the Department of Administration Secretary or the Governor
DOA must review comparable properties
within a 10-mile radius to ensure that proposed lease doesn't exceed
market rates by more than 5%. An amendment to the bill would allow DOA
to look past the 10-mile radius if there are no comparable properties.
Require cost-benefit analysis to
determine if purchasing the property instead of leasing would be cheaper
in the long-run.
Any leases would be subject to a passive
review from the Legislative Joint Finance Committee. This provides a
little bit of legislative oversight to the process.
This is a common-sense piece of legislation
that will help save taxpayer dollars in the future. I supported it in the
State Affairs Committee and look forward to supporting it on the floor of
Police Memorial Day Service
Date and Time:
May 21st 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Join Menomonee Falls Police Department for
the Police Memorial Day Service held to honor and remember those who have
given their lives in service to their communities.
Eat and Greet on the Street
Date and Time: June 3rd 12:00 PM to
Location: Original Village of Brown Deer
Eat & Greet on the Street is a block party to celebrate the completion
of the Original Village Streetscaping project. Featuring local bands,
community groups, artisan marketplace, games and activities.
Mai Fest 2017
Date and Time:
May 19th through 21st
See website for additional details