State Budget Update


May 15, 2015

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Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties





It was another late night for the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). But, the biggest news yesterday wasnít something that the JFC voted on but rather something they hinted at in the days to come. The co-chairs of the JFC and some of their Republican colleagues told the media shortly before the executive session began that they would be making changes to the Governorís plan to cut and reassemble Wisconsinís long-term care system.

The Governorís proposal would have:

  • Switched the current nonprofit providers for national for profit insurers

  • Restructured the current system

  • Elimination of IRIS, a program that focuses on allowing elderly and disabled people to live independently and plan their lives

  • Removed the responsibility for running individual and group homes from managed care organizations to statewide insurers

Some of the Governorís ideas are still on the table for the JFC:

  • Closely coordinating in-home care and medical care

  • Expanding Family Care to all 72 counties


The JFC has called on the Governor to create a more ďmodestĒ restructuring of the care program and it will go before them for a vote in the coming weeks.

While there are no details yet on what the JFC will choose to adopt in their draft of the budget, it is encouraging to know that this system which works so well may not be completely dismantled. Until we know exactly what changes will be made however, I remain cautiously optimistic.

Here are some of the other issues that the JFC voted on:

Domestic Abuse Services

  • The Governorís proposal included an increase in funding for victims of domestic abuse and their children, from $5 million to $14.6 million.

  • The JFC voted to approve this measure.


Services for Sex-Trafficking Victims

  • The JFC voted unanimously to spend $2 million for community-based and residential services for child sex trafficking victims.


Wisconsin Works W2

  • The Governorís proposal would have decreased the total time period that an adult can receive welfare benefits from five to four years.

  • The JFC voted to approve this measure.

Earned Income Tax Credit

  • The JFC voted to change the way to Earned Income Tax credit is funded by using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant funding instead of General Purpose Revenue (GPR).


Homestead Tax Credit

  • The JFC Democrats offered a motion to increase funding to the Homestead Tax Credit and index it to inflation.

  • The motion was defeated on party lines.

On the horizon:

The JFC will be back on Tuesday when they will tackle one of the most anticipated issues of the entire budget process: education.




State Representative

94th Assembly District



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