Joint Finance Committee announces four public budget hearings: Only one is virtual, and none in Milwaukee

By: - March 11, 2021 9:57 pm

Wisconsinites will have one virtual opportunity and three in-person chances to attend public hearings of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. These hearings are some of the few chances people have to speak out on issues of the 2021-23 budget. 

The hearing schedule includes the following four hearings, all from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Friday, April 9, 2021 UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2021 The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander, WI
  • Thursday, April 22, 2021 UW-Stout, Menomonie, WI
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Virtual

On Feb. 16, Gov. Tony Evers announced his $91 billion Badger Bounceback Budget, with a massive investment in education; soon after GOP legislators signaled they plan to toss out all of Evers’ policy proposals.

People who would like to testify at the April 28 virtual hearing will need to register in advance. The committee has set up a portal to collect input: as well as an email address [email protected].

Heather Dubois Bourenane, executive director of Wisconsin Public Education Network, which advocates for equitable public school funding, tells Wisconsin Examiner she does not feel the committee is providing adequate opportunities for public input. “The vast majority of people who have attended our budget workshops prefer to testify virtually to minimize risk and maximize their opportunities to speak up on the budget,” says Bourenane. 

“Holding face-to-face meetings in so few locations discourages participation and disrupts democracy,” she continues. “If the Joint Finance Committee chairs truly value the voices of people in every part of the state, they will hold a full week of virtual hearings and give the public a real chance to weigh in on the most important piece of legislation they pass every two years.”


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Catherine Capellaro
Catherine Capellaro

Catherine Capellaro is a freelance writer and the arts and culture editor for Isthmus in Madison, Wisconsin. She is also the former managing editor of Rethinking Schools, a former anchor and reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio and WORT-89.9 FM and an accomplished playwright and musician.