Youíve probably heard the
news by now: according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau,
there is no new revenue in Wisconsin. There is no magic pot of money
that can be used to fix the major cuts in the budget. The JFC is going
to have to work with what they have and find some creative solutions in
order to come out of this process with a balanced budget. It is time for
them to prioritize.
A quick refresher on budget lingo:
JFC: Joint Finance Committee, the committee charged with rewriting the
Governorís budget. At the end of their deliberation, their budget draft
will be presented to both houses of the Legislature for a vote.
Motion: an amendment offered by committee members as an alternative to
the Governorís budget proposal.
Here is what they worked on yesterday:
The State Department of
Justice requested funding for five new positions to investigate
police officer-involved deaths.
The Governor did not
include this in his budget proposal.
The JFC voted to fund
four of these positions.
The Governor proposed
raising fees for state park visitors from $2 to $3 and withdrawing
tax support for the parks.
The JFC voted to double
the charge for electricity on a campsite from $5 to $10, and to
raise the base campsite fee from $15 to $20 for state residents and
from $17 to $25 for nonresidents. They also raised the price of
annual trail passes and daily entrance fees.
Naming State Parks
Child Advocacy Centers
The Governorís budget cut $238,000 in funding from Wisconsinís 14 child
advocacy centers. It also included a cut of $2.5 million to a grant
program that would help cops prevent teens from joining gangs.
The JFC voted to restore this funding and approved $100,000 in grants
for services for sexual assault victims and $80,000 for legal advocates
for abused children.
Eau Claire Confluence Project
The Governorís budget called for $15 million in matching funds for the
Eau Claire performing arts center in downtown Eau Claire.
The JFC voted not to fund this project but instead commissioned a study
to see if by 2017 the project would still need state money.
Lingering in the back of everyoneís mind right now is the troubling
issue of no new revenue. Next week, the JFC will tackle the Department
of Health Services, the Educational Communications Board, and the Higher
Educational Aids Board among others.