State Budget Update


May 8, 2015

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Madison, WI 53708

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Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties





You’ve 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 Governor’s 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 Governor’s budget proposal.

Here is what they worked on yesterday:

Officer-Involved Deaths

  • 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.

Camping Fees



  • 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



  • The Governor’s budget proposed selling the naming rights to state parks.

  • A motion was made by the JFC to remove this provision but it failed along party lines.


Child Advocacy Centers

The Governor’s budget cut $238,000 in funding from Wisconsin’s 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 Governor’s 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.

Solicitor General

  • The Governor and Attorney General proposed creating the office of the solicitor general to handle legal cases for the state.

  • The JFC slightly modified their proposal but approved it.

Lingering in the back of everyone’s 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.






State Representative

94th Assembly District



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