This week, Wisconsin state agencies submitted their 2019-21 state budget requests to Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration. Under Wisconsin’s biennial budget process, DOA’s State Budget Office and the Governor’s Office will review the agency requests and develop the biennial budget. The governor will then present his budget to the state legislature for its consideration in early 2019. A final budget passed by the legislature and signed by the governor will be due at the end of June 2019.
Read about individual agency budgets of note below:
The Department of Children and Families requested a 3.1 percent increase. The request includes an additional $5 million annually for children and family aids and more funding for bonus funds for counties to operate a joint secured residential center.
The Department of Health Services (DHS) is seeking $623.7 million in additional general-purpose revenue (GPR) in 2019-21. Across all funds, this is an increase of 6.8 percent over the base year doubled. The largest portion of that increase is due to $496 million GPR in additional funding for the Medicaid program. In her submission letter, Secretary Seemeyer defended the increased funding in Medicaid, stating it is “moderate by historical standards and consistent with trends in health inflation.”
In addition to the Medicaid budget DHS requests $11 million GPR to fund activities to prevent childhood lead poisoning, $233,400 GPR for 911 over the phone CPR instruction for dispatchers, $4.6 million GPR for additional funds to support the costs associated with the conditional and supervised release, and additional funding and positions to support changes in FoodShare Employment and Training, Medicaid work requirements, child support compliance, and health savings accounts.
The State Prosecutor’s Office, which includes the Department of District Attorneys requests an $18.4 million increase for 120.85 full time state prosecutor positions. The Department of Administration also proposed in their request to move the State Prosecutor’s Office to the Department of Justice.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requests $4 million of GPR-supported bonding authority for grants aimed at reducing costs to permitted wastewater treatment facilities and their farmer partners in the implementation of the “adaptive management and water quality trading for phosphorus.” DNR states that funds could be used to supplement multi-discharger variance payments made by the permitees to counties. DNR plans to reallocate $32,000 from the Bureau of Water Quality to the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance to administer this grant program.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) request includes $24.8 million GPR over the biennium to fully fund contract beds for adult offenders. The request also includes $14 million GPR and 261 GPR full time positions to convert Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools juvenile facilities into a minimum security adult male facility. 2017 Act 185 required closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools by Jan.1, 2021. Act 185 also required DOC to submit with its 2019-21 budget request costs estimates for a new juvenile facility. DOC estimates 70 facility staff would be required and daily rates would increase by about $100.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) budget request is an increase of 4.6 percent over the base year doubled. The DOJ request includes more position authority for the state crime lab and an enhancement for digital forensic services provided to local law enforcement. DOJ also requests additional cost-to-continue funds of $1.1 million GPR each year to sustain law enforcement operations for the Division of Criminal Investigation.
The Department of Revenue (DOR) budget request contains several tax cuts, including:
- A state Dependent Care Tax Credit. In addition to the tax deduction for child care under current law, DOR requests a tax credit for child care expenses up to $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for multiple children. The credit would match the current federal dependent care tax credit.
- A new income tax credit for Wisconsin residents and graduates who stay in Wisconsin after graduating with a post-secondary degree. The credit is $1,000 per year for up to five years.
- Tax cuts for certain elderly individuals.
- Tax cuts for newly married couples.
The Department of Tourism biennial budget request totaled $34.5 million. In her submission letter, Secretary Stephanie Klett notes the benefits of funding tourism marketing, stating, “it is a $20.6 billion economic powerhouse that has grown by 40% since 2011. It supports 195,500 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in state and local revenue for Wisconsin residents.”
As is standard process, the Department of Transportation (DOT) submitted an incomplete budget request, pending Federal Highway Administration funding numbers. DOT typically waits for the federal numbers before completing the other half of its budget request, usually in November or December. The bulk of the request submitted this week was adjusted base funding levels.
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) request, submitted by state superintendent and Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers, is seeking nearly $1.7 Billion in total general aids for K-12 education. The DPI request reworks the school funding formula and includes for $64 million more over the biennium for student mental health, $600 million for special education, and $20 million for after school program grants. The DPI budget request also provides a revenue limit adjustment for school districts to fix lead contamination. DPI further requests the repeal of 2017-19 budget provision that restricted school board referenda to no more than twice a year and only on scheduled election dates.
The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) budget is based entirely on program revenue with no GPR funding. In its 2019-21 request, DSPS included standard budget adjustments and technical changes, as well as several measures to address the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin. DSPS seeks to extends positions related to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and add a Naloxone reporting requirement to the PDMP. DSPS also seeks to creates opioid naïve alerts to notify prescribers their patients has never consumer opioids before.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) budget requested includes funding for workforce development programs including:
- An additional $5 million for Fast Forward grants. The DWD request seeks to expand the flexibility of those funds so they can be used for youth apprenticeships, transit, and other workforce training grants.
- Transfer of funds to support Project SEARCH, which provides employment training to young adults with disabilities, to expand up to 10 more sites.
- Funds for a veteran outreach program to recruit veterans to live and work in Wisconsin.
- A $20 million allocation to Wisconsin Career Creator, which will administer grants to public and private universities and workforce development programs including youth preapprenticeship activities, mobile job centers, re-entry job training, and veterans job training.
The Office of Commissioner of Insurance budget requests a position to help manage the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan reinsurance program and the filling of the office’s community outreach position.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s budget request included $5 million annually for the state’s interagency talent attraction and retention imitative. Last session, the legislature allocated $6.8 million in one-time funding.
The Wisconsin Technical College System’s budget request provides $36 million over the biennium for a program to increase Wisconsin’s workforce participation.