State Budget Update


May 5, 2015

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In addition to these issues, one thing that has been weighing heavily on everyoneís mind is the upcoming projections of state revenue for the next two years. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau is preparing these numbers and they will help us anticipate the needs of our state over the next two years based on the money coming in. It is expected that the numbers will reveal that the state is facing a serious budget deficit, that is a gap between the money coming in (revenue) and the money going out (expenditures).

These projections have become highly partisan as well. Those who support some of the more drastic cuts included in the Governorís proposal had hoped that the projections would show large sums of money that could then be used to fill some of the holes created. Others are looking towards the expected numbers as an indicator that it is time to reprioritize and focus what limited resources the state has on vital programs. Another interesting factor is that the JFC has pushed many controversial topics until after the projections have been released.

Regardless, the projections will certainly be a game changer. Hopefully we will have them by the end of this week. In the meantime, here is an update on what the JFC debated today.

Update on the UW System

Before the JFC met today, the co-chairs told reporters that they have abandoned the Governorís proposal to separate the UW System as an independent authority. They also said that they hoped to reduce the $300 million in cuts under the Governorís proposal but they wonít be taking up the issue until later this month.

OWI Treatment

  • The Governorís proposal would cut $732,000 that is currently used for treatment of drunk drivers specifically in southeast Wisconsin. The treatment program would lose funding solely dedicated to it and instead have to compete with other substance abuse and community programs.

  • The JFC approved this plan. Additionally they approved the transfer of the program from the DOT to the Department of Health Services.

Budget for the Governorís Office

  • The Governorís proposal would raise his state office budget by $375,000 or 5%. In terms of comparisons, the entire state budget includes only a 3.2% increase in spending.

  • The JFC approved the proposal along partisan lines.


  • The Governorís proposal would cut $4 million from the $19 million state environmental management account that goes to different communities around the state to fund recycling.
    In the second year of the biennium, the $4 million would be restored but this would come on top of a series of cuts to the recycling program dating back to 2011.

  • The JFC voted to approve this plan.


Judgesí Salaries

  • The Governorís budget would create a commission to review pay for judges.

  • The JFC rejected this plan.

  • Also, under this plan, the chief justice of the Supreme Court would no longer make a different amount than the other justices.

  • The JFC approved the proposal.


Public Defenders

  • The Governorís budget wanted to freeze wages for assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders.
    The JFC voted to boost pay by 2% by 2016, a cost of roughly $1 million.

  • The proposal would also hire 35 assistant public defenders to save on costs of referral to a private attorney.

Special Prosecutors

  • The Governorís budget included a measure to change the circumstances in which a special prosecutor could be appointed, narrowed to health issues and not to help lighten the load of DAs.

  • The JFC voted to approve the plan.


Issues that were slated to be taken up but were delayed

The JFC was set to debate a proposal in the Governorís budget that would cut over $500,000 from a UW Extension research study on solid waste. Instead, the JFC members said they will take up the issue when they begin debate on the rest of the UW system in the coming weeks.






State Representative

94th Assembly District



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