By Senator Howard Marklein
June 30, 2017
There Is No Crisis
State Budget Process Continues
If you have watched the news or followed reports on social media lately, you may think that our state is in crisis as we end June without a completed state budget. I am here to report that there is no crisis.
Wisconsin law provides that all state operations continue at current levels until a new state budget is completed. This means that new programs and reforms currently in the budget will be delayed until the budget is completed. But for now, we continue as we have been operating for the past two years.
Our delay is not unusual. Only three of the last 10 budgets have been completed before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th.
As your State Senator, I would rather we take the time we need to thoroughly work through the big issues we still have on the table. We have finished nearly 70% of the budget already. Negotiations continue on several very important pieces - education, transportation and tax reform - which will have major impact statewide. There are differences of opinion on the way we approach these parts of the budget and we’re working through those things right now.
We are each elected by a group of people who expect us to represent them. With that responsibility comes a diverse array of opinions, needs and wants. In some areas, like transportation, what rural, southwest Wisconsin needs and wants is very different from what urban, southeastern Wisconsin needs and wants.
We need to find common ground, explain our goals and find a path we can all walk to finish a budget that will be good for all of Wisconsin. We are all doing our best to represent our constituencies and to fight for what we believe is right. This takes time when there are differences in preference and opinion.
I continue to work with the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), my colleagues in the Senate and I am reaching over to the Assembly to talk to the representatives from the communities I also represent. I am also meeting with leadership to explain my positions so that we can find the places where we have things in common.
My goal is to help our leadership find a door that we can all walk through together to get to the place where we can mostly agree. In order to do that – we need to listen and seek to understand where others are at. These are the foundations of compromise. And there is no crisis.
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 input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.