State Budget

road construction
Marge Pitrof

State Republican leaders issued dueling press releases on Thursday, about their positions related to transportation funding in the next state budget.

Sen. Alberta Darling says will not retract her comment that Assembly leaders want to delay work on the Zoo Interchange, in order to pressure the state Senate to approve a hike in the gas tax or vehicle registration fees.

Justin W Kern

Update: Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the Joint Finance committee, said Wednesday the panel will not meet this week.

She says lawmakers are still wrestling over which road projects would be affected by an $800 million cut in transportation funding.

Darling says she hopes the panel will resume budget deliberations next week.

Republicans in Madison are still trying to agree on a new budget for Wisconsin. There’s talk that the Joint Finance committee may return to the table on Thursday or Friday.

d76 / Flickr

As the fiscal year comes to a close, one of the biggest questions that remains is the fate of transportation funding.

Currently, the Wisconsin legislature has significant work to do with Governor Walker's proposed biennial budget, which plans to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for various highway projects. However, one program that this new budget affects especially are Wisconsin's transit programs. 

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

The Legislature's joint finance committee voted in support of Gov. Walker's plan to eliminate 18.4 researchers within the Bureau of Science Services. The DNR says that amounts to 31.5 percent of the authorized positions within the team.

Todd Ambs is one of the people upset about the cuts.

He heads the Healing Our Waters -  Great Lakes Coalition and served as as Water Division Administrator at the Wisconsin DNR from 2003 to 2010,

All Republicans on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted in favor of the changes, all Democrats voted against them. The budget plan would cut funding for the University of Wisconsin System by $250 million over the next two years, rather than the $300 million Gov. Walker wanted.

The budget committee agreed with Walker to eliminate the state law protecting tenure or indefinite status for faculty. Instead, the appointed UW Board of Regents would determine who is granted tenure.

D Schlabowske

Wisconsin was one of the first states in the country to adopt Complete Streets, a program that factors bicyclists and pedestrians into road projects. Under Gov. Walker’s budget, it would be eliminated.

 The Wisconsin Bike Fed, or WBF, says the move would take the state in the wrong direction.


Dozens of faith leaders in Wisconsin are outraged with the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance. It decided to increase prison spending in the next state budget by $5 million, in order to add capacity.


Wisconsin lawmakers sink their teeth this week into some of the more divisive portions of Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget. One is how to pay for transportation.

Walker doesn’t want to raise taxes to pay for the state’s transportation needs. So one tool he uses is bonding. His transportation secretary Mark Gottlieb had recommended a hike in the gas tax. But Gottlieb found himself pitching Walker’s plan to the Legislature’s joint finance committee.

Wisconsin's State Capitol

More marathon sessions are expected in Madison. The Legislature’s Joint Finance committee is moving into its final week of budget deliberations.

Gov. Walker has indicated he wants his budget passed quickly, and several huge items remain.

One big lingering matter is Wisconsin’s transportation budget for the next two years. JR Ross covers state government for the online news magazine He says the Joint Finance Committee must decide how to fund highway projects.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, better known as WEDC, is in the limelight once again. 

State lawmakers in 2011 created the public private agency that replaced the Department of Commerce. Back then, the Walker administration argued that WEDC would be more efficient and create more jobs. However, since its inception the agency has been plagued by problems of job creation and retention and accountability to name a few. On Thursday, the state’s budget committee tackled how to move forward with WEDC.