Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Guv's budget in plain English

Big day for Wisconsin budget geeks, as the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released its analysis of the Governor's budget. The link will get you to the front page, and you can click on any department of revenue item you want from there.

So dig in, and let me know what you find unusual in it.


  1. Supreme court, page 426-Delete the Uniform Chart of Accounts, So the Dir. of State courts won't be doing Financial reports? Why Not? The provision was put in place to check for errors or issues? Why

  2. looks like it would just go back to the de-centralized thing we had before. But why change it? Seems either petty or nefarious.

  3. The Forward WI Development Authority (fka WEDC & WHEDA) is an interesting one…

    pg. 167-8 - Appears to loosen (the already ineffective) reporting/accountability for companies receiving economic development grants/loans. Currently if you receive $100k+, you're required to submit an expense report and have an independent CPA audit your use of the grant/loan. Starting in 2016, the threshold for the CPA goes up to $500k+ and the expense report gets replaced with a signed attestation that you spent it how you said you would.

    pg. 168-9 - Gets rid of WEDC's current requirements and contract language that companies receiving economic development funds not discriminate against employees on the basis of age/race/religion/gender/etc. Nondiscrimination requirements appear to only apply to occupancy/housing and construction contractors (WHEDA stuff) going forward.

    pg. 170 - Gets rid of required biennial LAB financial audit. It will just be a program evaluation going forward.

    UW System:
    pg. 485 - UW employees not covered by whistleblower protections anymore.

    UW System is considered a municipality for purposes of procurement (pg. 489) and labor relations (483) …and it looks like raises beyond CPI for non-academic staff would go to statewide referendum. Thinking of 26 campuses + field stations, etc. as one "municipality" is awfully strange.

  4. I figured that by combining WEDC and WHEDA, Walker was trying to erase/mask the disastrous history of his signature agency WEDC (the one he chaired and which was supposed to help generate 250,000 jobs).

    In this budget, he seems to go a step farther by making WEDC (and its benefactors) less accountable.

  5. And combining the housing development tax credits from WHEDA with the taxpayer-backed noodle of WEDC means even more payback for those who play ball with this Administration. It's a great synergy!

  6. I wonder if current WEDC employees will be state employees? I know WHEDA employees are entitled to all of the same benefits as state employees, but the LFB writeup is vague on whether that would be the case for employees of the new Authority. I know people who worked for the old Department of Commerce who got screwed out of their accrued sick leave in the conversion to WEDC, and I wonder what the time limit is for them to get it back if they go back to being state employees?