Budget Requests Show Competing Interests for State Budget Dollars

State agencies submitted their 2017-19 budget requests to Gov. Scott Walker this week. The governor’s office will now use those requests to shape the budget proposal that Gov. Walker will unveil in February.  These agency “asks” also show public school leaders where the major competing interests are for scarce general purpose revenues (GPR)–the funds used to pay out school aids, among other things.

Overall, agencies are seeking roughly $700 million more in GPR over the base given to build their budget requests, according to WisPolitics.com. This figure does not include the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requests related to school aids.  Those requests, likely to total in the hundreds of millions, will be made in early November after general aid allocations to school districts are certified. 

The state Department of Health Services made by far the biggest request for new funding of an additional $455.5 million in general purpose revenue (GPR) the bulk of which is for Medicaid.

The Department of Transportation budget request would cut $447.4 million from state highway programs delaying several large projects while offering an additional $69.7 million for maintenance and an additional $65 million to local governments for local roads.  This likely sets up a showdown with the GOP leadership in the state Assembly.

The Department of Public Instruction is asking for $588,000 to fund grants for certain highly-qualified teachers who opt to teach in high-poverty school districts. Those who teach at high-poverty schools in MPS would be eligible for a $10,000 grant (up from $5,000) while teachers in other districts would be eligible for $7,500 rather than $5,000. The DPI request also calls for $33.4 million for public library system aid. DPI will submit the rest of its request (including public school aids) later this fall.

UW System officials are requesting $42.5 million in GPR, about half of which would fund a “Focus on the Educational Pipeline” initiative designed to help lead more students to pursue a college education.

The Department of Corrections is seeking $7.3 million in the upcoming budget to help address the state’s troubled youth prisons program.

See the entire list of agency budget requests for the 2017-19 state budget.