JUNE 12, 2015
The legislature has been working on the state budget
for the last several months. As a member of the Joint Finance Committee,
that has been my primary focus. I've been meeting with groups and
individuals from my district and all across the state. I've received
emails and calls from many of you, and I appreciate getting feedback and
hearing about your concerns. I wanted to give you some more detailed
information on some different areas that the committee has been working
The committee still has at least one
more day of executive session left. After the committee has completed
its work, the budget will head to the Senate and Assembly floors to be
voted on in its entirety. It will then head to Governor Walker for his
signature, hopefully by the end of June.
Next week’s e-newsletter will include budget
updates related to K-12 education, transportation and the Milwaukee
The JFC voted to delete the governor's proposal to create a UW System
authority. Instead, the Committee provided the System with a number of
flexibilities -- many of which the System has been requesting for years.
The JFC reduced the proposed cut to the System by $50 million. This
reduction, along with $20 million from UW surplus monies previously
identified by System President Ray Cross, will benefit the smaller UW
institutions that are least equipped to handle budget cuts.
Several dozen flexibilities given to the System by the JFC include the
following 1) ability to provide merit pay to UW staff and faculty, 2)
tools for chancellors to run effective and efficient campus operations,
and 3) the removal of the Building Commission process on certain
The continued in-state undergraduate tuition freeze approved by the JFC
ensures that additional costs won't be shifted to students and parents.
Action by the JFC ensures tuition will remain at the current level for
the next two years.
The Committee outlined accountability measures for the System. Moving
forward, this information will help students, parents, taxpayers, and
the Legislature gauge how well the System is managing its budget,
academics, and administration.
The reforms and flexibilities passed by the JFC will help the System
continue to grow, innovate, and improve.
Language regarding tenure was deleted in statute only. This means
that the JFC did not abolish tenure -- its function is simply being
shifted to the authority of the Board of Regents. This is far from
unusual when compared to other states
The JFC voted to establish conditions under which the Board of Regents
may grant a tenure appointment to a faculty member.
Natural Resources and Stewardship
The JFC voted to continue the DNR's land acquisition through the
Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program at a more conservative level than
Specifically, bonding for stewardship was reduced by over $21 million
This makes for a more financially responsible and sustainable program,
as the Committee worked to find a balance between protecting two
precious resources -- our natural heritage and taxpayer dollars.
With this plan, about $140 million in stewardship debt will be repaid
within the next 20 years.
Under the plan, all fee-simple purchases north of Highway 64 will be
subject to passive review by JFC.
The JFC motion doubled the investment from the Governor's budget
- The plan provides
for the purchase of the "best of the best" land acquisitions and
Long Term Care
proposed a new plan that gives DHS limited authority to pursue a waiver
from the Federal Government for Wisconsin’s long-term care services.
These changes include the state-wide expansion of Family Care and
self-directed care. The plan integrates long-term and medical care
(acute and primary care) to ensure better care for clients and families.
IRIS and ADRC services are not going away -- they are simply being
integrated into the Family Care program.
Includes the Following:
A strong self-directed care option with budget
Public and stakeholder input.
The complete integration of long-term, acute, and
primary care with Medicaid services.
The creation of no fewer than 5 regional health
districts to be served by multiple Integrated Health Agencies (IHA)
in each district.
The development for alternatives for initial
assessments, functional screens, and provider selection.
Actuarially determined rates paid to IHAs.
Adequately served provider networks.
A three year transitional period during which IHAs
must accept any willing provider.
Approval of the waiver submission by the JFC.
Children and Families
Expanded the Transitional Jobs program which assists
individuals with opening pathways to employment in Beloit, Racine and
testing will be required for specific programs within DCF-Transitional
Jobs and Transform Milwaukee , and the Children First program.
The organizational structure of Milwaukee Child
Welfare is changed from a bureau to its own division. The new structure
will allow for greater efficiencies and accountability.
Transfered community-based juvenile justice, from
Department of Corrections to DCF. This provides continuity of care and a
more coordinated approach to family-centered programming and
Dedicated $2 million for child sex trafficking victim
services and $5 million in domestic violence grants
funds from federal temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) block
grant to DCF to support general education development (GED) testing and
preparation to eligible individuals.
$41,600 annually to DCF from the TANF block grant to support adult
under TANF for a grant to fund civil legal services for low income
families with civil legal needs related to domestic abuse and sexual
Where to Find Budget Information
You can follow the
executive sessions by watching
information about the budget can be found
Session agendas can be found
office at 306 East is here to help you with general inquiries as
well as questions and concerns regarding legislative matters. Feel
free to contact me or my staff. We are always ready to assist you
in your needs. Please visit my
website for press releases and other Capitol updates.
If you have any comments
regarding the subject of this E-Update, please feel free to contact me.
Capitol Room 306 East- PO Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708
Toll-Free (888) 529-0031 or (608) 266-9967
You can now keep in touch with me on my official Facebook page and Twitter account!
My Facebook Page!
Follow Me on Twitter!
would like to be removed from future mailings, please
email me and ask to unsubscribe.