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(608) 266-5780 | State Capitol, Room 307 West, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 |




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State Capitol
Room 307 West
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

As I have mentioned in previous e-newsletters, the State Legislature is currently reviewing the Governor’s 2021-23 biennial budget proposal and the Joint Finance Committee wants to hear your input. I always encourage friends, families, and constituents to participate in this process as our budget is a reflection of our state’s priorities and public input opportunities allow you to vocalize what is most important to you.

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with more details about significant provisions included in the Governor’s 2021-23 biennial budget proposal, so that you may advocate as you see most appropriate. In this week’s e-newsletter, I will outline provisions that impact our environment, transportation & infrastructure, and our economy. In two weeks, I will send a subsequent e-newsletter that highlights healthcare, criminal justice, and education related provisions included in the Governor’s budget.

As you will recall, Governor Evers delivered his 2021-23 Biennial Budget Message on February 16. Following the Governor’s address, his budget proposal was sent to the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). The Joint Finance Committee has the ability to add or remove provisions from the Governor’s budget proposal or ignore the Governor’s proposal and create their own budget. I encourage you to participate in an upcoming budget listening session and tell the JFC what issues are important to you. 

In April, the JFC will be hosting multiple in-person public hearings and one virtual public hearing on the 2021-23 biennial budget. The public hearing schedule is as follows:

  1. Wednesday, April 21, 2021 @ The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander, WI
  2. Thursday, April 22, 2021 @ UW-Stout, Menomonie, WI
  3. Wednesday, April 28, 2021 @ Virtual

The Joint Finance Committee created a website that provides details of these public hearings to interested Wisconsinites. You can also use the linked website above or this dedicated email address (budget.comments@legis.wisconsin.gov) to provide input on the budget.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing me at Rep.Billings@legis.wi.gov.

Best Wishes, 

Jill Billings
State Representative 
95th Assembly District

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Tonight: Round Table Discussion for 32nd Senate District

Please join Senator Pfaff, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary-designee Randy Romanski, and me for a virtual Agriculture and Conservation Round Table. We will discuss pressing issues in agriculture and conservation, answer questions, and discuss the Governor’s proposed 2021-2023 biennial budget. Registration is required to attend this event. You can RSVP by visiting https://bit.ly/2OmQWbH.

 Our Environment

The Governor’s Budget includes significant investments in climate resilience & environmental justice, including many of the recommendations from the Governor’s Climate Task Force created in October of 2019. The Governor’s budget works to address and mitigate the effects of climate change in an equitable way, while also creating economic opportunities in the renewable energy and conservation sector. The Governor’s budget addresses the following and more:

Climate Justice:

  1. Create the Office of Environmental Justice to work across agencies and engage with environmental justice advocates, communities of color, Native Nations, and low-income populations to design climate policy that reduces emissions and pollutants
  2. Green Jobs: provides $1 million under the Wisconsin Fast Forward framework for grants to provide training for those pursuing green jobs throughout our state
  3. Require the Public Service Commission to evaluate the social cost of carbon when considering construction certifications

Natural Resources and Sustainability: 

  1. Re-authorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for 10 years with $70 million per year in bonding
  2. Double the utility contribution to the Focus on Energy program from 1.2% to 2.4% annual operating revenues (generating additional $100 million)
  3. Include $12 million to address flooding and $7 million for grants for county conservation staff to support land and water conservation activities
  4. Electric Vehicles: 
    1. Allocate $10 million of the remaining Volkswagen emissions settlement funds to the reestablishment an electric vehicle charging station grant program administered by the Department of Administration
    2. Authorize $5 million in bonding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure to allow greater use of electric vehicles throughout the state

Water Quality:

  1. Include a $500,000 increase for producer-led watershed grants
  2. Increase funding by $2 million for the Well Compensation Grant Program and update contamination and financial criteria

I would also like to highlight an area of the water quality provisions that will be of particular interest to those living in the Coulee Region, especially the Town of Campbell. The Governor included several provisions to assist with PFAS education and cleanup efforts. In addition to creating additional positions at the DNR for the development and implementation of a PFAS action plan, the Governor also called to: 

  1. Create a municipal grant program for the testing and remediation of PFAS by local units of government
  2. Provide $2 million for statewide monitoring and testing
  3. Provide $2 million for collection and disposal of firefighting foam that contains PFAS 
  4. Establish and enforce various environmental standards for PFAS  

I am in strong support of these provisions. They will help provide necessary resources to our community and others dealing with PFAS contamination. You may wish to read more about the various environmental provisions included in the Governor’s budget here.

Transportation & Infrastructure

The Governor’s budget builds upon investments made during the last biennium to our state’s roads and infrastructure. This proposal would work to enhance our overall transportation infrastructure while also working to strengthen our communities with needed upgrades, like broadband expansion. 


  1. Provide a total of $565.6 million in federal and state funds for the major highway program over the biennium
  2. Provide $75 million for the Local Supplemental Grant Program for local transit, multimodal, or transportation alternative projects
  3. Increase Mass Transit Operating Assistance by 2.5% each year and provide $20 million in Capital Assistance Grants for the replacement of public transit vehicles
  4. Increase general transportation aids for counties and municipalities by 2% in 2022-2023
  5. Increase State Highway Rehabilitation program funding by $66.6 million to provide a 3 percent increase over the prior biennium


  1. Provide $200 million to expand broadband access for the Broadband Expansion Grant Program at the PSC
  2. Eliminate several statutory restrictions for certain municipalities defined as broadband "underserved" or "unserved" to directly invest in broadband infrastructure and provide service to residents
  3. Create a Broadband Line Extension Grant Program to provide grants and financial assistance to low income households
  4. Provide $15 million in bonding for a Local Roads for Critical Infrastructure pilot program to combat the increased frequency of roadway destruction from flooding events.

Jobs and Our Economy 

The Governor’s budget works to provide local government, businesses, and workers with continued support following the COVID pandemic. The Governor knows that no business, organization, or individuals went unaffected by this pandemic. Building upon the assistance already provided through federal and state funds, this budget makes a series of investments to support our small businesses and local municipalities make it through and recover from the effects of a global pandemic. 

Business Development: 

  1. Provide $200 million in assistance to small businesses to aid in recovery from COVID, specifically targeting the retention of existing employees and rehiring of former employees
  2. Create a $100 million Venture Capital Fund to invest in Wisconsin businesses, with no less than 20% dedicated to minority or woman owned businesses
  3. Provide $8 million in Fast Forward Pandemic Training Grants to help workers displaced by COVID to re-enter the workforce
  4. Provide $9 million in Worker Connection Pilot Program to assist unemployed people prepare for and enter high-growth employment sectors 

Local Government Support:

  1. Increase shared revenue to local governments by 2% each year
  2. Enhance local government property tax flexibility and close the Dark Store loophole
  3. Allow counties and municipalities over 30,000 people to create a 0.5% local option sales tax via referendum

Expand Workers’ Rights:

  1. Establish collective bargaining rights for state and local government front-line workers
  2. Repeal Right to Work
  3. Restore the Prevailing Wage law for state and local public works projects
  4. Restore the ability for local governments to enter into Project Labor Agreements
  5. Expand Family and Medical Leave (from 50 employees to 25, hours worked from 1,000 to 680, and include care for grandparent, grandchild, and sibling)