Call to Action: Contact your State Senator and Assembly Representative before next Tuesday, June 25 about the state budget and how it can do more for all people in Wisconsin.
The Joint Finance Committee last week passed its version of the biennial State Budget, which differs substantially from what Governor Evers proposed. The Committee’s version does not include the federal dollars available to expand Medicaid, and that has resulted in less money for BadgerCare and other programs.
The Committee’s recommendation now goes to the State Assembly and Senate for consideration by all legislators. The first floor session is likely to be held Tuesday, June 25. From there it will go to the Governor who is expected to use his significant veto power before sending it back to the legislature. He can veto parts or all of the budget bill. Given the divided party control of the legislature and the Governor’s Office, it could take considerable time before Wisconsin will have a budget. In the meantime, state agencies will continue to operate under the last budget.
Following are a few items we urge lawmakers to do based on consideration of the LWVWI Legislative Committee and League positions. Choose one or two that matter most to you and contact your State Senator and Assembly Representative. Let them know why you care about the issue, why it is important, and what they need to do to pass a responsible budget for Wisconsin.
Include an additional $50 million to fully fund the costs of the tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students in the University of Wisconsin System.
Include $63 million in the 2019-20 public education budget for mental health services and $611 million for special education.
Increase funding for our public schools. Although Joint Finance approved the Governor’s request for $200 per pupil in categorical aid for 2019 and $204 for 2020, our schools will still be receiving less state funding than they did in 2011.
Restore $115 million for secured residential care centers for children and teenagers in the state's juvenile justice system.
Natural Resources and a Safe Environment
Restore the $25 million in bonding proposed by the Governor to clean up contaminated sediment in five areas of concern in the Great Lakes Basin.
Increase permit fees for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to fund five new positions at the DNR to oversee CAFO permits and regulation, as proposed in the Executive Budget.
Protect children by restoring the $40 million in bonding proposed by the Governor for the replacement of up to half of the cost to replace lead service lines through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program.
Transportation and Roads
Increase revenue for our Transportation budget, raise the funding for public transit by $36 million, and fix our roads. Lawmakers can do that by reinstating the Governor’s proposal for the first gas tax increase since 2006. Transit can help get people out of poverty, get people to jobs, preventive healthcare, shopping etc. Those who use Wisconsin roads should contribute to the maintenance -- even if they are not residents of our state!
Adopt Medicaid Expansion to fund the above items and more. MA Expansion would cover an additional 82,000 adults under BadgerCare while providing matching funds for many other programs that serve all Wisconsin residents. It’s time for legislative leaders to bring some of our federal tax dollars back to Wisconsin!
Remember, choose a limited number of these items when you contact your legislators. That will have more impact. You can find your legislators and their contact information by entering your address here.
You can also reach your legislators by calling the Legislative Hotline. In Madison, dial 266-9960. Toll-free, call 1-800-362-9472.