budget

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A funding tool used to protect land, build trails, and manage forests would be renewed for another four years in the next Wisconsin State Budget.

As WXPR reported last week, the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee voted to extend the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

Governor Evers budget proposal called for a $70 million dollar a year for the next 10 years renewal of the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program.

Wisconsin DNR

The Wisconsin DNR has been selling waterfowl stamps for more than 40 years.

Each year, sales from the stamp generates hundreds of thousands of dollars for habitat management, restoration, education, and research projects.

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Wisconsin’s state budget is projected to see “unprecedented” revenue growth of $4.4 billion above previous estimates by the middle of 2023.

The news delivered Tuesday led to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers calling for more spending on education while Republicans urged caution and promised tax cuts.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau delivered the revised forecast, calling it unprecedented.

Evers called on the Legislature to spend more on K-12 schools, while also rescinding $300 million in previously announced cuts to state agencies.

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Republicans who control the Legislature's powerful budget-writing committee have again blocked a Democratic attempt to legalize marijuana for medical uses.

The GOP stripped a provision legalizing medical marijuana from Gov. Tony Evers' 2021-23 budget last month.

Democrats on the budget committee introduced a motion Wednesday that would legalize it and provide the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection with roughly $185,000 per year to regulate the drug.

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Wisconsin public schools would receive $150 million more in funding over two years under the Republican budget approved by a legislative committee.

That is less than 10% of the $1.6 billion that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed.

It was not immediately clear Thursday if the GOP plan would spend enough to ensure that Wisconsin wouldn't lose at least some of the $2.6 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding it's slated to receive.

The committee also voted to end a tuition freeze for the University of Wisconsin that's been in place for eight years.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Hundreds of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' priorities, including legalizing marijuana, raising $1 billion in taxes and expanding collective bargaining rights, have been killed by the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee.

Lawmakers are taking their first votes Thursday in writing the next state budget. Republicans essentially scrapped the Democratic governor's entire two-year proposal.

They instead are building off the current budget, The Joint Finance Committee voted to remove nearly 400 of Evers’ proposals.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

The Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee has voted to expand a mental health center in Madison to reduce the number of inmates at the state’s juvenile prisons.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to go along with Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to borrow up to $66 million to build a new unit at the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison.

The new unit will be able to house up to 30 boys and 20 girls. This will reduce the number of juveniles housed at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in Lincoln County. 

Gov. Tony Evers says he hasn't met with Republican legislative leaders to discuss his $91 billion state budget proposal because he’s listening to what the people of Wisconsin want and that GOP lawmakers should do the same.

Republicans who control the Legislature’s budget committee are expected to vote as soon as next week to remove many of Evers’ priorities, such as expanding Medicaid and legalizing recreational marijuana, as they begin to create the next budget.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Warning: some listeners may find the details in this story disturbing and graphic.

  The Lincoln Hills-Copper Lake juvenile prisons in Lincoln County were set to close this year under a law passed in 2018.

That deadline won’t be met.

The biggest issue has been where to put the children.

Ahead of last week’s Joint Committee on Finance budget hearing WXPR asked lawmakers about where things stand.

Rep. Evan Goyke (D- Milwaukee) said legislation that would create new facilities have been sitting in the JCF for almost two years.

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Rhinelander School District’s Hodag Dome was a main draw for the Joint Committee on Finance to hold the budget hearing.

“This is probably the most unique setting that we’ve ever held a public hearing at which is pretty cool,” said Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) in his introduction at the budget hearing.

Rhinelander School Board Foundation President Dave Heck said the dome has already been a great addition to the community and the state.

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For seven hours today Wednesday, the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance heard from people on their priorities for the state budget.

The budget hearing was held in Rhinelander at the Hodag Dome.

Representative Mark Born (R- Beaver Dam) said he was glad local representatives suggested the location.

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Attorney General Josh Kaul is trying to persuade Republicans to give him nearly $925,000 in the state budget to upgrade crime lab technology designed to identify synthetic drugs and hire more analysts.

Gov. Tony Evers' budget calls for authorizing Kaul to spend $923,800 from court surcharges over the biennium for upgrading drug detection technology and hiring four more toxicologists to run the machinery.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance will be hosting a series of public hearings focused on the state budget next month, including one in Rhinelander.

It will be held April 21st at the Rhinelander Hodag Dome. It starts at 10:00 a.m.

People who want to comment will be given two minutes to speak.

The Joint Committee on Finance says they will be following local public health department guidelines regarding masking, social distancing, and room capacity.

iStock/Wisconsin News Connection

Wisconsin's debate over the next state budget is far from over, but the spending plan outlined by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has strong support from advocates of older residents.

Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin, said her group was encouraged to see provisions like a tax credit for family caregivers as well as $200 million to enhance broadband internet access.

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  Gov. Tony Evers wants to spend $2.4 billion on building projects across 31 counties in Wisconsin over the next two years, with nearly a half of that going toward projects across the University of Wisconsin System.

Evers released his capital budget proposal on Monday. The state building commission is slated to vote on it next month, which would then send the plan to the Legislature’s budget committee which will then decide what to fund.

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