The Joint Committee on Finance (Joint Finance Committee or JFC) of the Wisconsin Legislature has nearly completed its work on the 2023-25 state budget. This article reviews notable provisions adopted by JFC during its three most recent meetings, affecting nine major state agencies.
JFC is expected to hold its final budget session later today, June 22, to consider motions on tax reform, funding for the University of Wisconsin System, the budget stabilization fund, and other miscellaneous provisions.
At each meeting, JFC members vote on motions to reshape the budget as initially proposed by Gov. Tony Evers (D). The finance committee has addressed most budget items by approving an overall or “omnibus” motion for each agency. Most of these motions have been approved along party lines, with JFC’s four Democratic members also offering alternative motions that have been rejected by the Republican majority.
The committee began the process on May 2 by voting to remove many new programs and significant changes to state law proposed by Gov. Evers. Committee meetings and votes continued throughout late May and early June. Alongside the JFC budget process, the Legislature is using separate bills to implement new programs and policy changes on issues such as shared revenue, education funding, and PFAS. This is to limit Gov. Evers’ ability to exercise his partial veto authority, which only applies to appropriations legislation such as the budget bill.
Department of Administration
- Motion 98 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 96 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Department of Corrections
- Motion 90 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 88 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Department of Justice
- Motion 93 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 92 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Department of Safety and Professional Services
- Motion 94 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 89 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: For professional licensing, adds six license processing positions, six customer service center positions, and one paralegal position (Gov. Evers’ budget would have added nine additional processing positions and eight additional service center positions); adds three building plan review positions; provides $4.3 million for software and equipment maintenance and upgrades; provides $1.9 million for IT projects; provides $1.1 million for technology costs related to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Department of Public Instruction
- Motion 103 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 101 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: Provides $534 million above the base level funding for general school aids; sets the per-pupil revenue limit adjustment at $325 in each year of the biennium; increases the special education funding rate to 33.3 percent and the high cost special education rate to 50 percent; provides increases for various transportation, sparsity, and library aids; increases funding for mental health services grants to school districts and independent charter schools; increases funding for the school choice, independent charter school, and special needs scholarship programs; reserves $50 million for a literacy program to be implemented in a separate bill.
Department of Transportation
- Motion 104 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 100 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: Provides $1.5 billion in new transportation funding; increases the electric vehicle annual registration fee from $100 to $175; funds the production and issuance of new license plates and expands the Bureau of Correctional Enterprise’s metal stamping operations; provides funding and bonding authority for the Blatnik Bridge reconstruction project; provides about $190 million for the southeast freeway megaprojects program.
Department of Children and Families
- Motion 116 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 117 (minority amendment to Motion 116), not adopted 4-11
- Motion 106 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: Modifies various program allocations to account for changes in federal funding; does not provide the requested $300 million in state funding to continue the Child Care Counts program or $5 million for home visiting services.
Department of Health Services
- Motion 109 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 112 (minority amendment to Motion 109), not adopted 4-11
- Motion 111 (minority amendment to Motion 109), not adopted 4-11
- Motion 107 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: Funds Medicaid cost to continue; increases hospital reimbursement rates; increases primary care provider reimbursement rates for certain codes to 70 percent of Medicare rates; increases the maximum allocation for Disproportionate Share Hospital payments to $71.6 million; provides reimbursement parity for chiropractic services equal to physician rates for the same procedure codes; sets aside $10 million for crisis urgent care and observation facilities; requires DHS to establish new reporting requirements for long-term care MCOs; prohibits Medical Assistance payments for puberty-blocking drugs or gender reassignment surgery.
Department of Military Affairs
- Motion 114 (majority), adopted 11-4
- Motion 105 (minority), not adopted 4-11
Notable provisions: Provides $45 million in one-time funding to replace the Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications (WISCOM); creates a continuing appropriation for the statewide public safety interoperable communication system; creates an annual appropriation, beginning at $2 million in 2024-25, to fund grants to local governments for WISCOM-related equipment upgrades.