State Budget Update
Governor Tony Evers' budget proposal has been introduced as companion bills, Senate Bill 59 and Assembly Bill 56, and referred to the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance (JCF). The JCF has announced the following informational budget hearings, which is limited to testimony from state agency representatives:
Wednesday, April 3:
Department of Public Instruction
Department of Transportation
Department of Health Services
Thursday, April 4:
Department of Workforce Development
Department of Corrections
Department of Natural Resources
Times and locations for the public hearings have yet to be announced.
The Governor's budget proposal generates revenues through several new measures, such as acquiring greater federal funding, increasing revenue tied to manufacturing and long-term capital gains taxes, and increasing taxes/fees on items such as gasoline and certain nicotine products.
The WCC is monitoring several proposed items in the budget. The following is a short list of those measures:
- Returns new 17-year-old offenders to juvenile court system beginning 2021.
- Expands the Opening Avenues to Reentry Success program to all 72 counties.
- Expands the Windows to Work program.
- Allocates $2 million over the biennium for the Treatment, Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program.
- Allows undocumented residents to obtain a noncompliant REAL ID driver's license or identification card.
- Allows certain undocumented immigrant residents to obtain resident tuition within the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College systems.
- Expands Medicaid to cover all low-income residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($34,638 annually in 2019 for a family of four).
- Repeals recent Medicaid childless adult demonstration project changes.
- Provides $365 million to hospitals that serve Medicaid recipients.
- Increases Family Care program workforce funds by $29.6 million (state and federal).
- Provides $69 million to fund non-institutional mental health, behavioral health, and psychiatric services.
- Provides $28 million for the "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" program.
- Repeals the prohibition on Title V, Title X, and Women's Health block grant funding from being provided to an entity that provides abortion services or is affiliated with an organization that provides abortion services.
- Allows a health care professional to prescribe marijuana for certain medical conditions.
- Increases funding for homeless prevention programs consistent with the Interagency Council on Homelessness recommendations.
- Eliminates drug testing requirements for state benefit programs.
- Increases the Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit as a percentage of the federal credit for working families with one or two children.
Agriculture and Environment
- Allocates $200,000 to provide mental health support and assistance to farmers.
- Advances several initiatives to improve water quality, including an additional $800,000 annually to the well compensation grant program and increasing the income limit for eligibility from $64,000 per family to $100,000 per family.
- Provides $4 million annually for renewable and clean energy research grants.
- Increases Elderly and Disabled Transportation Aids by $6 million over the biennium.
Provides a $22 million increase for the state's 81 transit systems.
- Implements the Fair Funding Formula, which includes allowing schools/districts with full-day four-year-old kindergarten to count these pupils as full-day students in FY 20.
- Restores the two-thirds state funding commitment for public school revenues.
- Increases funding for mental health services for school-aged youth.
- Reimburses 30 percent of special education costs in FY19 and 60 percent in FY20 and provides $7 million over the biennium in special education transition readiness grants.
- Fully funds high-cost pupil transportation aid in FY 20.
- Fully funds reimbursements to school districts under the school breakfast program and the Wisconsin school day milk program.
- Freezes parental choice program enrollments and implements changes to discourage program support and participation.
- Prohibits new students from participating in the Special Need Scholarship Program.
- Provides $20 million in afterschool and out-of-school program grants in underserved communities.
- Eliminates private school tuition tax deduction.