The state Assembly hopes to vote on a budget repair bill that would amend Gov. Scott McCallum’s reform proposal today.
Two drafts of the budget have been written, McCallum’s and the Joint Finance Committee’s. A third will be drafted by the Assembly, a fourth by the state Senate and finally a fifth draft will be drafted by the Assembly and Senate together and presented to the governor for review.
The main issue discrepancy between the different versions of the budget is the status of the shared revenue and treatment of municipalities, Mike Browne, spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Chvala, D-Madison, said.
“The shared revenue component has been controversial, to say the least,” Browne said.
Shared revenue deals with resources such as police, rescue and fire departments all over the state of Wisconsin.
In McCallum’s budget he proposes a cut of the shared revenue components. The Joint Finance Committee, however, decided to suspend the cuts to the shared revenue for one year. In order for Wisconsin to afford this suspension of cuts for one year, the Joint Finance Committee proposed the UW-System give up a large amount of funding and use money from the tobacco securitization deal and state funding.
Once the bill passes the Assembly and is brought before the Senate, it is possible more changes will be made. The legislation will be reviewed and debated until a decision is reached, but the process is not over.
A conference committee between the Assembly and Senate will be formed in order to create a compromise budget that will go to McCallum to either be passed into law or vetoed and sent back to the drawing board.
Lawmakers predict the bill should be on McCallum’s desk sometime in early April.
Since the cuts were announced, the UW-System has put a freeze on admissions for the next semester.
Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said cuts to the UW System have the potential to hurt the reputation of the institution.
According to Lazich, “In terms of the UW budget, the UW’s mission is the education of students. If money has to be cut and that is where they plan to cut it, then [UW] loses credibility with me and other lawmakers.”