February 11, 2016

Budget committee begins voting

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee gets started on the heavy-lifting today for finalizing a state budget plan. The committee will hold its first of several executive sessions on the governor’s $68 billion biennial budget plan, after finishing off a series of public hearings across the state earlier this month.

JFC co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) says it’s a very detailed process, with the panel taking up each section of the budget plan agency by agency. Lawmakers will then review the governor’s proposal, and then either keep the plan as presented or vote to make changes. Committee members will meet several times over the next few weeks to complete the process.

Darling says there are some areas lawmakers will look at for possible revisions after hearing feedback from around the state, such as K-12 education, transportation, and future plans for the state’s Medicaid program.

AUDIO: Sen. Alberta Darling (:13)

Darling says lawmakers are also likely to revisit the University of Wisconsin System budget, following recent revelations of a $648 million surplus. She says that will certainly include talks about a tuition freeze for campuses, which the governor is expected to ask lawmakers to take up in the coming weeks.

After the committee has finished its work, the budget will go to the Assembly and Senate for consideration. Further changes are possible before lawmakers sign off on the plan and send it to the governor. Darling says they hope to have the budget wrapped up by the end of June.

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