Budget Process

Wisconsin has a biennial budget that officially begins in the fall of even-numbered years when state agencies submit their budget requests to the governor. However, agencies and the governor’s office begin work in the summer to develop the budget.

The governor uses the agency requests and agency white papers to develop the budget, which is introduced in February of the following odd-numbered year. Once introduced, the Legislative Joint Finance Committee (JFC) holds hearings where the public will be able to provide input. The JFC then votes on the budget proposals agency-by-agency that can emerge as an alternate version of the governor’s budget.

The budget, as passed by JFC, then goes to the full Assembly and Senate for their approval. After both houses agree on a budget bill, it then heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Key Budgetary Statistics and Instructions

  • Agency budgets to be held to zero growth or five percent reduction to the base.
    • Exceptions:
      • K-12 school aids
      • Department of Corrections
      • Department of Health Services
      • Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Safety and Permanence
      • DCF Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services
      • Department of Workforce Development Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Zero-growth policy also applies to SEG-funded administrative operations.
  • Additional staff requests must be met through base reallocations.
  • State agencies looking to increase ongoing federal funds.
  • Agencies should limit policy items.
  • Formal requests are due Monday, September 17.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration has published the Major Budget Policies 2019-21 and other information about the Biennial Budget. Follow the respective links to read more.

Tyler Foti
Bio Link Prior to joining Michael Best Strategies, Tyler spent four years with Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald’s office, including two years while the senator was minority leader and two years while the senator was majority leader. Expertise: Government Relations and Public Policy
Nathan Houdek
Bio Link Nathan draws upon more than a dozen years of experience in politics, state government, and strategic communications to advise business and non-profit executives in a diverse range of sectors, including health and human services, transportation, community development, and sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. Expertise: Politics & Public Affairs, Health Policy & Health Insurance Regulation, Social Impact & Shared Value Consulting, and Sustainable Community Development
Robert Marchant
Bio Link Rob served as a senior leader within the Wisconsin Senate under five majority leaders, three Republicans and two Democrats. As chief clerk and director of operations of the Wisconsin Senate, Rob was the parliamentarian of the Senate and was responsible for the proper, constitutional functioning of the Senate as a lawmaking and oversight body within state government. Expertise: How Legislatures Do Their Work, Legislative Procedure & Drafting, Executive Branch Operations, Economic Development Policy, Agri-business & Environmental Policy, and Water Policy
Mickey Foti
Bio Link With 22 years of service in the Wisconsin State Legislature and a deep background in government relations, Mickey has the knowledge and skill to support clients in a wide range of policy and regulatory matters. During his time with the state legislature, Mickey participated in a variety of committees, including serving as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Finance. Expertise: Government Relations, Public Policy, and Regulatory Issues

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