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                        Understanding the Budget Process Week by Week

May 21th, 2021

 Agency Briefings

 State Rep. Steve Doyle

State Capitol
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0631
(888) 534-0094


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JFC Hearings - Agency Briefings 

Yesterday the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) had an executive session for the following: Department of Administration, Elections Commission, Ethics Commission, Department of Tourism, and the Public Service Commission. 

Each agency briefing follows this basic format:

1.) The secretary or department head provides a brief summary of what their agency does and will go over their major budget appropriations.

2.) Committee members ask the secretary and their staff numerous questions on specific programs and funding requests. Each committee member is allotted a certain amount of time or number of questions per agency. 

Below, I will briefly discuss some of the requests made from the agencies mentioned above. As there are always changes to the proposed budget, agencies rarely are ever granted their full wish-list. 

Department of Administration 

There was a significant list of requests by the Department of Administration; however, the main focus during the briefing today was addressing homelessness programs and funding. 

Governor Evers' budget called for significant proposals to combat homelessness in Wisconsin. This included programs like affordable housing, shelter grants, and other various initiatives to assist the homeless.

  • The Governor proposed $72.6 million to combat homelessness in Wisconsin. 
  • JFC rejected that proposal -- passing only $1.2 million to combat homelessness through the biennium. 

Elections Commission 

  • JFC unanimously passed a proposal which would create a continuing appropriation to support election security and system maintenance. 

Ethics Commission 

  • Democrats on committee proposed to increase principal registration and lobbyist authorization fee by $50 and provide the commission with a new Deputy Administrator position.
  • Republicans on the committee offered a motion which offered the creation of the Deputy Administrator position; however, increased lobbying fees by $10 instead of $50. 
    • This motion passed unanimously. 

Department of Tourism

  • There were several items the committee did not address:  
    • Native American Tourism of Wisconsin
    • Creative Economy Development Initiative Grants 
    • Arts Board Fund Matching 
    • Democrats on the committee prepared an omnibus motion to include the above proposals, but failed along party lines: 4-12. 
  • In return, Republicans on the committee offered a motion which adopted the Democratic provision for the Tourism's general marketing fund and added 3 positions for the Office of Outdoor Recreation, funded as one-time temporary positions expiring June 30, 2023. 
    • $781,800 GPR each year in the biennium was provided to fund Wisconsin tourism marketing efforts.  
    • This motion was passed along party lines: 12-4. 

Public Service Commission

  • The Public Service Commission is heavily focused on ensuring broadband funding gets a major funding boost in the final budget.
  • Due to Governor Evers recently announcing he was using new federal aid to build broadband infrastructure, the committee postponed this briefing until more details of his plan are released. 

Upcoming Executive Sessions 

Below are the following executive sessions which will be taking place on May 27th: 

  • Public Instruction 
    • General School Aids and Revenue Limits 
    • Categorical Aids
    • Choice, Charter, and Open Enrollment 
    • School Operation and Curriculum 
    • Administration and Other Funding 
  • Wisconsin Technical College System 
  • Higher Educational Aids Board 
  • UW-System 

Stay tuned next week for an update on the above agencies - have a great weekend! 

Until next time,