At the Capitol, work begins in earnest on the next two year state budget, as the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget writing Joint Finance Committee begins agency briefings this week.
The Departments of Corrections and Transportation start things out Tuesday. The Departments of Administration, and Safety and Professional Services are scheduled for Thursday.
Democrats on the budget panel have priorities they’d like to see addressed. Milwaukee Senator LaTonya Johnson says her’s include mental health. “Mental health is a huge factor all across the state,” she said in a WisconsinEye Newsmakers interview. “Making sure that those individuals who need the resources and the help are able to get it. And also childcare, childcare is is huge, and making sure that our kiddos have quality care.”
There’s little agreement between Republicans on the budget panel and Democrats like Milwaukee Representative Evan Goyke, on what to prioritize in the budget. “Issues like funding public schools, the university system, local government leaders, childcare providers, health care providers. Those were voices at the table in Milwaukee, I expect those to be some of the dominant themes of this coming budget,” Goyke said.
Republicans hold the majority on the panel and plan to start from a base budget and reject much of Democratic Governor Tony Evers proposed budget of nearly $140 billion. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports the state is believed to have a surplus of $ 7 billion at this time.
Democrats and Republicans have scheduled budget listening sessions around the state.