On September 15, Wisconsin state government agencies submitted requests for the next state budget to Gov. Tony Evers (D) and the Department of Administration (DOA). The state budgets on a two-year (biennial) basis, with fiscal years beginning July 1 and ending June 30. The 2023-2025 state budget will cover a two-year period from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025. The previous budget was enacted July 8, 2021.
For the remainder of the year, DOA staff will work to develop a budget based on Gov. Evers’ instructions and agency requests. Following the election on November 8, the winner of the gubernatorial race will discuss his priorities with DOA and present an executive budget to the Wisconsin Legislature for its consideration early next year.
Notable budget requests from state government agencies are described below:
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
- Requests $7 million in additional bonding authority for the Soil and Water Resource Management Program, to support cost-sharing grants to landowners for installation of runoff control technology.
Department of Children and Families
- Includes new estimates of the federal TANF and CCDF block grants and adjusts funding for several TANF programs, including Wisconsin Works, Kinship Care, and the Caretaker Supplement.
- Requests additional funds to transition the childcare provider licensing system from paper to digital.
- Requests $6 million to fully fund contract beds for adult residents, including 100 contract beds for “persons in our care” (PIOC) and 500 Extended Supervision sanction beds per day.
- Proposes changes to the statutory language under which the department reimburses local governments for law enforcement investigative services, and a corresponding reallocation of funding in each fiscal year.
- Requests about $7 million over the biennium for juvenile institution care, alternate care, and community supervision for Serious Juvenile Offenders.
- Expands Medicaid coverage from 100% to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) for parents and caretakers and childless adults, drawing down $2.3 billion over the biennium in additional federal matching funds and reducing the state’s revenue share by $1.55 billion over the biennium.
- Requests an increase of $533 million over the biennium to fund the Medicaid cost-to-continue. Expenditure levels are projected to be above the base Medicaid budget, largely driven by increased enrollment in Medicaid programs. This estimate includes an assumption that most managed acute care programs will experience a 2% increase and managed long-term care programs will experience a 3% increase in each calendar year 2024 and 2025.
- Requests shifting general purpose revenue to Medicaid after the one-time transfer to the Medicaid Trust Fund included in the previous budget. This includes $527 million in both years of the biennium.
- Requests increased funding of $11 million over the biennium based on a re-estimate of costs for outpatient competency examinations, conditional and supervised release, and treatment to competency programs.
- Proposes spending an additional $7.2 million over the biennium for Foodshare vendor contracts.
- Requests an increase of $92 million over the biennium to fund costs associated with the ARPA general rate increase of five percent for Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) that began on January 1, 2022.
- Proposes shifting reimbursements for law enforcement training from the Penalty Surcharge to general purpose revenue.
- Requests funding to increase the reimbursement rate provided to county victim witness offices to 90 percent of costs, which is the current statutory maximum.
- Requests additional position authority for the Office of School Safety threat reporting tipline and administrative support, as well as position authority for a special agency and criminal analyst, position support for the State Crime Laboratories, and authority to administer a body camera grant program.
- Includes various statutory language changes recommended by the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to improve the effectiveness of state treatment and diversion programs and to clarify various program requirements.
- Requests increasing grants to providers of services to victims of sexual assault from $2.2 million annually to $9 million.
Department of Military Affairs
- Provides two placeholder requests including ongoing support for contract and implementation costs to replace the existing WISCOM system and for the creation of a Homeland Security Division.
Department of Natural Resources
- Requests an additional $4 million in bonding authority to clean up contaminated sediments in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior or their tributaries.
- Requests an additional $4 million in bonding authority for the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Program and the Municipal Floor Control and Riparian Restoration Program.
- Requests $6.5 million in bonding authority for targeted runoff management projects and for notice of discharge cost-sharing grants to governmental units working with owners and operators of livestock operations to meet required pollution controls.
- Requests $10 million in additional bonding authority for dam repair, reconstruction, and removal projects.
- Requests an amendment allowing the Watershed Management Program more flexibility in adjusting its expenditures.
Department of Public Instruction
- Requests $896 million over the biennium “for general equalization aid for school districts, to mitigate the increases in the school property tax levy resulting from adjustments under school district revenue limits.” This would increase the allowable revenue limit per pupil by $350 in the first year of the biennium and $650 in the second year.
- Requests $66 million over the biennium to increase the per-pupil aid to school districts from $742 in fiscal year 2023 to $811 in fiscal year 2025.
- Requests nearly $754 million over the biennium “for Special Education Categorical Aid for local educational agencies.”
- Requests $256 million over the biennium “for a new program to provide aid to school districts and independent charter schools to develop and maintain comprehensive school mental health systems and programs.”
- Proposes legalizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use and creating a medical marijuana registry program. Recommends issuing permits to retailers and imposing a 15 percent wholesale excise tax and a 10 percent retail excise tax on marijuana sales.
- Recommends adopting the federal tax treatment of discharged student loans. Currently in Wisconsin, the amount of a student loan forgiven by the federal government is considered taxable income.
Department of Safety and Professional Services
- Requests a total of more than $6 million over the biennium “to support the ongoing technological infrastructure of the Department.”
- Requests a total of $4 million over the biennium to fund 30 additional staff positions “to allow the department to meet the public demand for licensed occupations” and “to ensure efficient and effective processing of license applications.”
- Requests a total of $4 million over the biennium to fund 25 additional staff positions “to provide scheduled plan review services on a limited basis,” to “provide one week review for small and simple plans,” and “to allow the department to provide plan review in four weeks.”
- Requests $1.7 million over the biennium to fund 10 additional staff positions “to ensure that existing and newly created boards can receive the policy, legal and administrative services necessary to manage their professions as directed by statute.”
- Requests $515,200 over the biennium “to maximize access and utilization of the most advanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP or ePDMP) tools by all providers throughout Wisconsin.”
- Requests $525,500 in additional funding to fully match the annual federal National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Partnership agreement award.
- Transfers $200,000 to the Department of Administration to fund a grant program for marketing services promoting Tribal tourism with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council and Native American Tourism of Wisconsin.
- Proposes making the Office of Outdoor Recreation a permanent office with three full-time staff positions.
- Requests $50 million in bonding authority to support the construction of a new bridge crossing the Fox River in Brown County (the South Bridge Connector project).
Department of Workforce Development
- Expands the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act (WFMLA), modifying various definitions under the current FMLA and reduces the minimum hours worked.
- Proposes various statutory changes to reduce worker misclassification.
- Re-estimates federal funds, shifting various federal funds across programs such as workforce investment, employment, and unemployment assistance.
- Requests $1,938,000 over the biennium to create an Office of Inspector General with 10 staff positions, including an unclassified Inspector General to be hired by the commission administrator. The proposal “will increase the agency’s ability to research public or legislative inquiries – especially those alleging unlawful or non-compliant behavior – in a more timely and effective manner.”
- Requests $586,600 over the biennium for contracting services to create a new campaign finance reporting website to replace the existing Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS).
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
- Re-estimates the cost of the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan by an additional $30 million each year of the biennium.
- Requests a change in expenditure authority of $148,700 over the biennium to fully fund the Board on Aging and Long-Term Care Medigap Helpline.
- Proposes reserving $50,000 of intervenor compensation funds annually for entities that review economic and environmental issues impacting low-income populations, particularly in rate cases. The intervenor compensation program provides financial assistance to organizations who choose to become an intervenor in a Commission proceeding.
- Requests $170,000 in ongoing budget authority for annual licensing and other associated costs for engineering modeling software.
University of Wisconsin System
- Requests $115 million over the biennium “to provide additional funding to all campuses for inflationary costs of goods and services, to backfill the campus share of pay plan from [fiscal years 2017 through 2022], provide ongoing funding to support key initiatives and to recruit and retain critical faculty and staff.”
- Requests $24 million “to expand UW-Madison’s Bucky’s Promise to all campuses in the UW System.”
- Requests $123 million over the biennium “to support a 4% pay plan increase in January 2024 and an additional 4% increase in January 2025 to help retain top quality faculty and staff.”
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
- Proposes increasing the limit of outstanding bonds backed by the agency’s capital reserve fund from $800 million to $1.2 billion.
Wisconsin Technical College System
- Requests $75 million over the biennium for state aid to technical colleges.