Joint Finance Committee hearing room. (Photo: Legislature website)
Members of Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee will travel across the state throughout April to hear from residents about what they’d like to see included in the next two-year budget.
Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), co-chairs of the powerful committee, announced details of four listening sessions in a statement yesterday.
“We invite you to provide comments and input,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “Your ideas are an essential part of our process.”
The first public hearing will be held on April 5 at the Waukesha County Expo Center. The second will be held on April 11 at UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Student Center. The third will be held the following day on April 12 at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. The final public hearing will be held on April 26 at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua.
All 16 members of the Committee — including 12 Republicans and four Democrats — will attend the sessions, which will start at 10 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. Those who attend will be asked to fill out a form upon arrival to be added to the queue to testify.
The leaders said they also encourage residents to visit their online website dedicated to the public hearing process. “It is a central portal for input to reach the entire committee and it will be a helpful tool when looking for upcoming budget hearings and other documents pertaining to the budget process,” the legislators said.
Democrats on the committee — Sens. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) and LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Reps. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) and Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) — pointed out in a separate statement that the members will not travel to the most populous areas of the state including Milwaukee and Dane counties.
“We are excited to listen to Wisconsinites from all over the state about how Governor Evers’ investments will make our communities stronger and safer places to live, work and raise families,” the members said in a joint statement. “Governor Evers built this budget on a foundation of Wisconsin values, and we’re excited to continue advocating for strong public schools, affordable child care and investments to support workforce development.”
Gov. Tony Evers held similar listening sessions throughout January prior to the release of his official budget proposal in February. The JFC will spend the next several months rewriting that proposal. The Republican chairs have said they plan to start from scratch, rather than work from Evers’ plan. Once JFC is finished with its work, the Legislature will vote on the spending plan and send it to Evers to be signed. The deadline to complete the whole process is July 1.
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