Budget Committee Updates

This week, JFC met in executive session to continue our work on the budget.


First, we approved a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship request to assist in the creation of a trail using an old trestle bridge in the City of Appleton. The committee approved appropriating $711,810 in stewardship funds for this project, which the city will be matching.


In executive session, we tackled the Department of Administration, Department of Tourism, Ethics Commission, and Elections Commission. Below are some highlights.


Department of Administration (DOA)

Increased the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) by $600,000 annually, which is triple the amount it currently receives. This will provide grants to local governments and non-profits to help homeless individuals move to independent living. We also voted to keep the Employment Assistance Program instead of repealing it like Governor Evers proposed in his budget. This program provides grants to municipalities to connect homeless individuals with permanent employment. The committee also voted to remove the cap and fully fund the Service Award Program which provides monetary awards to volunteer firefighters, first responders, and volunteer emergency medical technicians. This will ensure that all volunteers who are eligible for this compensation will receive it, which has not always happened in recent years. Finally, the committee eliminated 9.9 positions in the department that have been vacant for 24 months or more. This saves money and decreases the size of government bureaucracy.



We invested in Wisconsin Tourism by increasing funding for the department’s marketing budget which allows the department to continue to advertise in the markets they currently are in and allows them to expand to other markets inside and outside of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism advertises outside the state to encourage tourism travel TO Wisconsin from elsewhere. We also provided continued funding through this biennium for the Office of Outdoor Recreation.


Ethics Commission

The committee approved the creation of one deputy administrator position and the elimination of one ethics specialist position to streamline the operations of the Ethics Commission. We also approved an increase in certain lobbying fees by $10 per legislative session starting in 2023-24, which is the first increase since 1995. Under the law, lobbyists must pay a fee each legislative session in order to be able to legally lobby in Wisconsin.  


Elections Commission

The committee voted to invest in election security by making six positions permanent at the Elections Commission who are meant to provide security and support to local elections officials. Three of these positions are funded using federal funds. We also created an appropriation to support elections security and system maintenance.


Next week… On Thursday, the committee will be voting on the budgets for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI – K-12 Education), Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB), and the UW-System.


As things are getting back to normal, people are ready to start to travel again. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism hopes that your travel plans include our own backyard: Wisconsin! Sometimes we forget or take for granted all that Wisconsin has to offer. Traveling around our great state offers a more cost effective way to get away while still experiencing something new. Whether you want a quick getaway to Door County or Lake Geneva or a longer trip to the Apostle Islands or the lakes of the Northwoods, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has information and guides for all of it.


Tourism’s Office of Outdoor Recreation has been hard at work encouraging people to get out and experience Wisconsin’s natural resources. Specifically, they have created a “Wisconsin Trail Report” which lists current conditions for hiking and biking trail networks throughout the state.


Click on the picture below to view a video made by the Office of Outdoor Recreation.