Wisconsin – Budget Tracking

Wisconsin Budget Tracking Memo

 V01/14/2015 jsm

Questions/comments/requests: jay.moynihan@ces.uwex.edu



OpenSecrets http://www.opensecrets.org/

Fund raising/contributions, PACS/Super PACS

SourceWatch http://www.sourcewatch.org

“…information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion.

Princeton Election Consortium http://election.princeton.edu/

“This blog’s mission is to provide informed analysis of US national elections by members of the Princeton academic community.”


Background on Fiscal Aspects of the State:

The LRB (Legislative Fiscal Bureau) 2015 version of their excellent papers about the Wisconsin state government, prior to the release of proposed budgets. Good backgrounders on the fiscal side of state functions and departments.



Standard Links

Legislative Finance Bureau


The Wheeler Report


Wisconsin Counties Association


WCA State Budget Section:



Department of Administration (DOA) and Governor

The Budget Office in the Department of Administration coordinates state agency budget requests based on policies and guidelines of the Governor.

The Governor will typically introduce his proposed budget as part of his Annual State of the Union address in January or early February.

Look at an executive summary of the budget bill in the “Budget in Brief” and then review a particular agency’s budget, programs, cuts, and performance measures at the Department of Administrations site. Link to “Budget In Brief”.

See the Governor’s press releases on the budget and other items at Gov. Scott Walker’s Press Releases


Wisconsin Legislature



Find out how a bill is passed.   

The Legislative Process in Wisconsin


How A Bill Becomes Law http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/acc/pdf/HABBL.pdf

The budget bill itself is listed as AB XX and SB XX since each house reviews the bill.  These bills, complete with their statutory language is on the Legislature’s Home page at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/   This site contains useful information on the budget process.


See what the Legislature’s committee meeting schedule for the week, what bills or portions of the budget will be open to discussion and public hearing. 

Using the sidebar on http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ , both the “Senate” and the “Assembly” have a “schedules and calendars” section that shows the week’s committee hearings.


Track and watch the hearings and actions of the Joint Finance Committee.

Under Joint Legislative Committees, you will find listed the “Joint Finance Committee” that is made up of representatives and senators from both parties that reviews the budget.


Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB)


The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) is a nonpartisan service agency of the Wisconsin Legislature that provides fiscal and program analyses to the Wisconsin Legislature, its committees, and individual legislators on specific proposals and the budget bill.  The Bureau also serves as staff to the Joint Committee on Finance — a 16-member Committee, which reviews and deliberates on legislation affecting state revenues and appropriations.  The primary focus of the Committee’s work, and thus, that of the Bureau, in each legislative session is the state’s biennial budget.  In meeting these responsibilities, the LFB puts out the following information:


Find out about programs, authorities, participation and money spent.

Read the Information Papers on state programs as part of the biennial budget process at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/publications/Informational-Papers/Pages/Informational%20Papers.aspx


Discover what the state is projecting in terms of growth for the coming two years. 

Read the:

Revenue Estimates are developed by the LFB for the legislature in January and in May/June of each year. These estimates are independent of those generated by the Department of Revenue for the Governor.  In truth, the two agencies compare their estimates and discuss differences between them.



Local Government Finance Glossary: Frequently Used Terms. UW-Extension


This fact sheet is old, but it does a good job of explaining what “state shared revenue” is, and how it is usually calculated. UW-Extension.



UW-Extension’s Local Government Center.

Publications http://localgovernment.extension.wisc.edu/publications/publs.html
Links http://localgovernment.extension.wisc.edu/Weblinks.html


1/15/15 KJS

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