MADISON, Wis. — The co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) gave Wisconsinites a better idea of which budget proposals from Gov. Tony Evers might make the cut and which ones are doomed to fail among Republicans.
The leaders, who spoke at a WisPolitics event Tuesday afternoon, are responsible for overseeing the budget process for the next several months, so what they say is a good indication of what you can expect to happen.
While there might be a few new areas of comprise this time around, don’t expect this budget process to be much different from the previous one during the last biennium.
“Shared revenue is probably a good example of maybe a new area of some agreement,” State Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, explained. “Also, it didn’t have the attention last time. I think other areas of agreement are ones that have been around awhile, like education.”
Mental health is another issue you could put on that list too. However, as far as what is off the table, Milwaukee County probably won’t be allowed raise its sales tax by 1%, at least not as part of the budget process.
“I don’t believe we are ever going to approve a plan that’s going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more to locals without there being some reforms in there,” State Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said.
“It still needs to be tied to reforms because we are not interested in just giving them more money to do the exact same things,” Born added.
Though both sides agree on some things, Republicans, who have control of the Legislature, fully intend on doing it their way.
“The budget that we passed last time was about [1,800 pages] thick,” Marklein said. “My goal is to have it even thinner this time around. The stuff that [Evers] has got in his budget, we’re just a long way a part.”
Among those proposals is the one-time investment of $290 million to help maintain and improve American Family Field and ultimately keep the Brewers in Milwaukee for an extra 13 years.
For Republicans, the governor’s funding pitch came out of left field.
Born said Evers’ dropped the proposal on Republicans like a bomb, and they weren’t expecting it. Meanwhile, Marklein told the audience it would be hard to convince a farmer like him that the Brewers are a good investment.
Though Republicans clearly need more convincing, that doesn’t mean the investment won’t happen. Born talked about how lawmakers reached a similar deal to support the Milwaukee Bucks during former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.
As for passing the budget by the July 1 deadline, Marklein said he expects the process to be wrapped up on time. If a spending bill isn’t signed into law by then, previous funding levels remain in place, and the state government would not shutdown.