By Senator Howard Marklein
March 29, 2019
My Personal Approach to the State Budget
Joint Finance Committee Announces Public Hearings
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) delivered a 479 page analysis of Governor Tony Evers’ state budget proposal to all members of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) this week. This is a thorough analysis of the Governor’s 1,148 page budget document that was released to the legislature on February 28, 2019.
My team and I are working hard to read and understand the details of this document as we prepare for the next steps of the State Budget process. We are also working on new ideas developed over the last two years and following-up on past budget actions to see if we should continue, expand or end things we have done in the past.
In addition to our analyses, we are meeting with hundreds of constituents who are visiting the State Capitol as a part of Lobby Days designed by many different organizations. From the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) to the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) to the League of Conservation Voters to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB); we have met with hundreds of people who are bringing their priorities and ideas to the legislature.
The State Budget is our opportunity to guide investment in the things that matter to you and we are working hard to study the details and design strong, thoughtful recommendations. The budget process is much more than considering what is written and voting “yes” or “no.” My approach to the State Budget is to combine all of the resources, data, history, analysis and input I have received to make good decisions and fight for the things that matter to us.
I am looking at our spending in the last budget, future revenue projections and how our priorities fit into the puzzle. For example, if we want more funding for rural roads, it is important for me to understand how transportation funding is allocated, where our opportunities are and how I can ensure that it is directed toward the programs that will specifically impact rural roads. It is not a simple task, but I embrace the opportunity to use my financial skills and aptitude to make an impact on policy in this way.
The next official steps of the State Budget process include Agency Briefings and Public Hearings. The JFC will be holding Agency Briefings on April 3 and April 4 in the State Capitol. These briefings are an opportunity for invited state agencies to present their budget priorities and answer questions from members of the committee. Following the briefings, the JFC will conduct public hearings at four locations throughout Wisconsin. The details follow.
On April 3, we will be meeting with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Health Services (DHS). On April 4, we will be meeting with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These briefings are open to the public and will be shown on Wisconsin Eye (www.wiseye.org). Only the agencies and legislators are permitted to testify and ask questions at these briefings.
The Public Hearings provide time for members of the public to give testimony and input on your preferences for the state budget. While many of you attended my listening sessions, this is an opportunity to expand your reach to all members of the JFC.
The Public Hearing schedule follows:
Friday, April 5, 2019 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)*
Pontiac Convention Center
2809 North Pontiac Drive, Janesville, WI 53545
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)*
Oak Creek Community Center
8580 South Howell Ave., Oak Creek, WI 53154
Monday, April 15, 2019 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)*
University of Wisconsin – River Falls**
500 Wild Rose Avenue, River Falls, WI 54022
**Free Public Parking Access at UW River Falls, Pay 1 Lot – North Second Street, River Falls
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)*
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
University Union – Phoenix Rooms
2430 Campus Court, Green Bay, WI 54311
*The committee will conclude taking testimony at the time specified. Written comments can be emailed to the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702.
We were fortunate to have public hearings in Platteville in 2017 and Reedsburg in 2015. However, this year, the closest public hearing for most of the 17th Senate District is in Janesville on Friday, April 5, 2019. Please note that if you attended one of my listening sessions, your input is already part of the conversation.
As we continue the State Budget process, I appreciate your input and ideas. I will be sharing some of my analysis in the coming weeks and provide updates along the way. Please keep in touch.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have any questions or need assistance with any state-related matters.