Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance met yesterday and approved Governor-elect Jim Doyle’s request for $87,500 to be used in his transition into the governor’s office.
According to a public notice from the committee, the funds are “to enable the incoming governor to review and analyze budget requests, hire staff, obtain space, and do other such tasks as the Committee approves.”
The transitional budget comes from money already budgeted for the governor’s office but, according to state statute, must be approved by the Finance Committee.
Robert Lang, director of the Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, said historically the committee approves such requests based on previous transitional budgets but had not seen such a request since 1987, when former Gov. Tommy Thompson received $44,361 for his transition into office.
Lang said the committee looks at different indicators such as inflation and the number of positions needed for the transition to decide transitional funding.
“Usually, if the amount of funding is in line with these indicators, the committee will go ahead and approve it,” Lang said. “The Committee approved what Doyle asked for.”
The Associated Press reported the request was submitted Friday in a letter from Doyle’s transition director Susan Goodwin to the Finance Committee’s co-chairmen, Sen. Brain Burke, D-Milwaukee, and Rep. John Gard, R-Peshtigo.
“In light of the state’s current fiscal situation, Gov.-elect Doyle has attempted to limit the expenditures for this transition,” Goodwin reportedly said in the letter.
Doyle is expected to announce his transitional staff sometime next week. The staff will help him appoint numerous Cabinet positions, state agencies and state boards.
The Finance Committee also approved a request from the Department of Transportation, which asked for $10 million for highway maintenance and traffic-operations appropriation.
“The Committee approved the request and decided to include this funding in Department of Transportation’s ongoing base of operations,” said Fred Ammerman, program supervisor of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.