On Thursday, June 15, the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) met after a weeklong break, to take up the governor’s self-insurance proposal, the Department of Employee Trust Funds and the Department of Corrections. JFC has not reconvened since the June 15 meeting, as the Assembly and Senate leadership and JFC co-chairs hash out the remaining budget issues – education, transportation and property taxes.
Below are the highlights from the June 15 meeting.
Budget Management and Compensation Reserves: JFC unanimously rejected the governor’s proposal to move the state employee’s health care to a self-insurance model. Read more on the self-insurance decision here. Also, under this budget area, JFC approved the governor’s proposal for raises for state employees by two percent in each biennium.
Employee Trust Funds: Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and JFC co-chair Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) proposed a motion that would fund a campaign to educate employees on high-deductible, consumer-driven health plans. The motion passed 12-4 with Democratic opposition.
In a controversial decision under ETF, JFC voted along party lines to approve the governor’s recommendation to discontinue a type of domestic partnership available only to same-sex couples and eliminate state health insurance coverage and other benefits for those domestic partners. The change saves over $4 million GPR in the biennium.
Also under Employee Trust Funds, Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) proposed a motion that would have directed a study to consider protective occupation status for certain law enforcement occupations. The motion failed 4-12.
Corrections: JFC modified the governor’s budget for additional Department of Corrections overtime costs, decreasing the funding by $8 million more than what the governor proposed.
JFC accepted the increase in the governor’s budget relating to inmate populations and prison contract beds. The governor’s budget provides $8.6 million GPR annually for prison contract beds. In total, approved funding to support inmate populations, prison contract bends and inflationary costs was $55.4 million.