August 30, 2023


The state biennial budget, 2023 Wisconsin Act 19, which covers Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025 (FY24 & FY25), was signed by Governor Tony Evers on July 5, 2023 and calls for total expenditures of nearly $99 billion. Despite the largest increase in spending in 30 years, Wisconsin is projected to finish the 2023-25 biennium with a surplus of more than $4 billion. 

This summary is limited to issues of greatest interest to the WCC and Catholic groups. It does not report on appropriations that remain unchanged from the previous biennium and, for the most part, does not consider further statutory changes that may have been enacted through other legislation. Provisions which the WCC supported, but which were not included in the final budget, are listed at the end of the summary.

Women, Children, and Families

Childcare. Allocates $53 million to the Wisconsin Shares Program which subsidizes childcare for low-income families. Waives copays for families under 100 percent of the federal poverty level and helps ensure that the program meets federal child care funding requirements. Includes $15 million for grants to child care providers, rather than the much larger proposed Child Care Counts program which provided direct subsidies to childcare providers during the pandemic. Increases funding to YoungStar, the child care quality rating and improvement system, as well as tribal child care contracts, early childhood educator development, resource and referral services, and funding to digitize the child care licensing application process. 

Youth. Provides the Boys & Girls Club an additional $5 million in FY24. 

Parenting Support. Provides $2 million for an online parenting support program.


Education Funding. Increases funding for schools by over $1 billion. Includes a $325 per pupil increase each fiscal year for over 400 years (through 2425). Provides over $97 million in special education reimbursements over the biennium, $50 million for literacy and reading provisions, and $30 million for school-based mental health. 

Voucher Increases. Increases voucher amounts for school choice programs and charter schools, with a significant increase in FY24. Choice students in grades K-8 voucher amounts will increase from the current $8,399 to $9,893 (+$1,494); choice students in grades 9-12 from $9,045 to $12,387 (+$3,342); charter school students from $9,264 to $11,385 (+$2,121); Special Needs Scholarship Program students from $13,076 to $15,065 (+$1,989). In FY25, all voucher categories will increase by $344.


Governor Evers signed the following bipartisan package of housing bills outside of the budget, though some of the funding was in the state budget. Together, these housing investments total $525 million.

  • Residential Housing Infrastructure. Provides $275 million in one-time funds to provide low-interest loans to support the creation of new affordable and senior housing (2023 Wisconsin Act 14). 

  • Main Street Housing Rehabilitation. Establishes a $100 million revolving loan fund for low-interest loans to improve rental workforce housing on the second or third floor of existing buildings (2023 Wisconsin Act 15). 

  • Housing Rehabilitation. Provides $50 million loan fund for a housing rehabilitation program to offer grants or forgivable loans to low to moderate income households to renovate or repair their current home and address hazards like lead and mold (2023 Wisconsin Act 17).

  • Commercial to Housing. Establishes a $100 million revolving loan fund for low-interest loans to convert vacant commercial buildings to new residential developments of workforce or senior housing (2023 Wisconsin Act 18). 


Financing Affordable Housing. Increases the limit on notes and bonds that the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) can issue that are secured by a capital reserve fund from $800 million to $1 billion to finance projects supported by state and federal housing tax credits.

Health Care

Mental Health. Provides $10 million in grants to support two regional crisis urgent care and observation facilities.

Farmer Mental Health. Provides $100,000 each year for mental health assistance and counseling services to farmers, who have disproportionately high rates of suicide and depression.  


Suicide Prevention. Provides $66,800 in FY24 and $87,300 in FY25 to create a suicide and self-harm prevention coordinator position. Provides $898,700 in FY24 and $2.1 million in FY25 to support the state's 988 suicide and crisis lifeline.

Criminal Justice

Opening Avenues to Reentry Success Program (OARS). Invests an additional $2 million in OARS, which supports the prison to community transition of inmates living with a serious and persistent mental illness who are at risk of reoffending.

Community Reentry Centers. Allocates $4 million to community reentry centers for individuals leaving incarceration. The Legislature has a bill pending to create such centers.

Treatment Alternatives & Diversion Program (TAD). Provides an additional $1 million to expand the TAD program for individuals to receive treatment as an alternative to prosecution and incarceration. 

Opioid Treatment. Allocates over $4.5 million to expanding a Department of Corrections medication-assisted treatment program for individuals struggling with opioid use disorders. 

Wage Increases. Increases wages for correctional security positions. Increases starting hourly wages for assistant district attorneys and public defenders to $36 per hour. Increases rate for private sector attorneys performing public defender work to $100 an hour.


Local Roads. Nearly doubles the state’s contribution to the existing Local Road Improvement Program that funds rural and urban projects by providing $324.3 million over the biennium. 

Mass Transit. Increases each tier of the mass transit system by 2% in each year of the budget and moves funding for mass transit from the segregated transportation fund to the general purpose revenue fund. 

Paratransit. Increases paratransit aids by 4% in each year, to better serve individuals with disabilities.

Specialized Transit. Increases the Specialized Transportation Assistance Program by 11.6% in FY24 for capital equipment and mobility management.

Care for Creation

PFAS Contamination. Creates a $125 million trust fund to clean up “forever chemicals”. 

Clean Water. Provides funding to improve drinking, surface, and groundwater:

  • $7.5 million to remove contaminated sediment in impaired waters.
  • $6.5 million to reduce agricultural or urban runoff.
  • $4 million to control pollution carried by stormwater runoff.
  • $1 million to replace contaminated wells.

Conservation. Allocates $7 million for grants for land and water conservation. 

Local Food Processing Grants. Provides an additional $1.6 million for the Meat Processor grant program and a $300,000 per year increase to the Dairy Processor Grant program. 


Tax Cuts for Bottom Two Brackets. Lowers the tax rate for the bottom bracket from 3.54 percent to 3.50 percent and the next bracket from 4.65 percent to 4.40 percent.

Shared Revenue and Local Government Aid. Increases state aid for localities with $68 million for counties and $207 million for municipal governments, a 36% increase above current state aid. Localities will receive up to $300 million in innovation grants to deliver local services and $137.8 million to help offset the personal property tax repeal (2023 Wisconsin Act 12).

Items Not Included in Budget

The following WCC-supported budget items were not included in the final budget:

  • Postpartum eligibility expansion for women in the Medicaid program to 12 months. 
  • Family Foundations Home Visiting Program expansion.
  • Grants to reduce infant and maternal mortality, which help to address racial disparities.
  • Sales tax exemption for diapers, breastfeeding equipment, and feminine hygiene products. 
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increase for families with one and two children. 
  • Tax credit for qualified adoption expenses. 
  • Housing and wraparound services for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. 
  • Elimination of fiscal cliffs and marriage penalties in state assistance programs.
  • Private school health and safety grants.
  • Resident tuition for undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients.
  • Implementation of the recommendations of the Interagency Council on Homelessness. 
  • Homestead Tax Credit increase.
  • Medicaid (BadgerCare) expansion to residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Tax credit for family caregivers of adults in need of daily assistance.
  • Return of all 17-year-olds to the juvenile justice system. 
  • Noncompliant REAL ID driver’s licenses or identification cards to undocumented individuals.
  • Hunger Task Force’s Badger State Box food program.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about what was included in the budget? Check out the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's Comparative Summary of Provisions. For all budget papers, see the Legislature's website.

Facebook  Web  Email