The Wisconsin Legislature passed its version of the 2019-21 state budget on Wednesday, June 26, sending the budget to Gov. Tony Evers for review. The budget largely adopts provisions approved by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), along with an amendment that adjusts language to make it more difficult for Gov. Evers to use his line-item veto authority to change provisions. (For example, “may not” is changed to “cannot” in several instances. The governor’s line-item veto allows him to veto entire words, but not individual letters.) The governor can delete or reduce appropriations, but not increase them. Gov. Evers has not yet indicated how he will act on the budget.
In addition to making it more difficult for Gov. Evers to exercise his partial-veto authority and minor adjustments to several appropriations, the amendment,
- Provides an additional $5 million for transportation aids to towns in the biennium.
- Allows counties to apply to the Building Commission for grants for other private construction projects. The budget initially provided this opportunity only to municipalities.
- Adjusts borrowing authority for the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson stewardship program, clean water fund program, safe drinking water loan program, and other Department of Natural Resources pollution abatement programs.
- Requires full Legislature approval for implementing a mileage-based fee for transportation. The original substitute amendment allowed JFC to unilaterally approve a mileage-based fee after the study. Under the amendment to the JFC budget, the Department of Transportation will submit reports on mileage-based fees and tolling to the full Legislature.
- Exempts dealers of new vehicles that are not franchised and manufacturers who produce solely electric cars from certain provisions of the Wisconsin dealership law. The provision allows car manufacturer Tesla to sell vehicles directly to consumers instead of through a separate dealership as required under current law.
- Adds 35 assistant district attorney positions to the JFC budget and increases funding for a one-step pay progression increase for district attorneys.
- Removes the tax on vapor products from the tobacco products tax and instead taxes vapor products separately.
- Changes funding for Next Generation 911 from annual to biennial appropriations funded in the first year of the biennium.
- Removes provisions requiring additional JFC oversight of Foodshare Employment & Training program funding.
- Removes provisions in the Minority Health Grants program that would have given priority to applicants who provide maternal and child health services.
- Increases state funding for rural hospitals.
Full LFB summary of the amendment.
The Assembly passed the budget 60-39, largely along party lines. The Republicans voting no were: Reps. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) and Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport). All Democrats voted no.
In the Senate, the bill passed 17-16, with Sens. David Craig (R-Big Bend) and Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) voting no.
Click below for summaries of relevant budget provisions by agency. Unless noted, the provisions approved by JFC remain in the budget as passed by the Legislature.
Key provisions of Gov. Evers’s budget removed
Shared revenue and tax relief *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Environmental Improvement Fund *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Property taxes *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Department of Military Affairs *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Department of Workforce Development
Department of Corrections – correctional staff pay raises
Education *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
District attorneys and public defenders *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
University of Wisconsin System
Department of Health Services *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Department of Children & Families
Transportation *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
Public Services Commission – Wholesale merchant grants
Department of Trade, Agriculture & Consumer Protection
Department of Natural Resources – Stewardship program, state parks, etc.
Department of Natural Resources – PFAS
Building projects *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment
Budget Management & Compensation Reserves – Budget bill provision
Budget Management & Compensation Reserves – State employee salaries
Taxes *Amended by Amendment 1 to JFC Substitute Amendment