The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) continued to work through the governor's proposed budget, nixing several of his proposals and adding in other items. In the last two productive weeks, they worked through big ticket proposals, including Medicaid, UW System and Shared Revenue and Property Taxes.
Under the UW System, the committee deleted the governor's five percent tuition cut and instead opted for a tuition freeze over the biennium. In Medicaid, JFC took the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's revised estimate for the cost to continue the program, reducing the number by $95 million GPR, and moving $50 million GPR into the committee's reserve account. Packed into the DHS omnibus motion were several new proposals not in the governor's budget, including an intensive care coordination pilot program, increased disproportionate share hospital payments and a statewide expansion of Family Care Partnership.
JFC has been moving through their executive sessions efficiently, but they still have a lot of budget issues to take up - including K-12 education, the governor's self-insurance proposal and transportation. How JFC will approach transportation continues to be the biggest question, with the prospect of pulling transportation out of the budget still out there. This week, Governor Walker rejected the notion of a separate transportation budget and stated that it could result in project delays across Wisconsin.
Due to the long holiday weekend, JFC is only meeting one day next week - Wednesday, May 31. On the agenda next week is the District Attorneys, Department of Workforce Development and Tourism.