Capitol Update
October 31, 2019Like us on Facebook

This summarizes the final disposition of the 2019-21 biennial budget as affected by Governor Tony Evers' signing and partial vetoes on July 3, 2019. The summary is limited to issues of greatest interest to the WCC and Catholic groups. For the most part, it describes the final outcome and does not address how particular budget items or programs evolved through the process. It also is limited to noting where changes have occurred and generally does not report on programs that remain unchanged from the previous biennium. Finally, this summary does not consider further statutory changes that may have been enacted through other legislation or that may be enacted soon.
The 2019-21 budget (2019 Wisconsin Act 9) calls for total expenditures of over $81 billion over the biennium.
Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS). Provides an additional $330,000 annually to expand the Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS) program to seven additional counties beyond the current 44, plus an additional $868,000 annually to expand the average daily population of OARS participants. OARS provides case management for inmates with mental health issues who are at risk of reoffending.
Windows to Work. Provides $200,000 annually to expand the Windows to Work program, allowing it to operate in all minimum and medium security institutions.
Treatment, Alternatives and Diversion (TAD). Increases funding for Treatment, Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program by $1.5 million over the biennium.
Hospital Payments. Requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to allocate over $157,000,000 over the biennium to hospitals that serve low-income patients, including rural critical care access hospitals.
Direct Care Workforce Funding. Increases personal care and direct care workforce funding by over $91 million biennially, including $66,610,400 (state and federal) to Family Care agencies for wage increases, bonuses, etc., to staff that provide personal and direct care services.
Homelessness Initiatives. Provides $250,000 annually to increase Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) grants to programs that provide services for runaway and homeless youth. The Act also reserves increased funding in the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) supplemental appropriation for programs directed at combatting homelessness, including an annual $1,200,000 for the Housing Assistance Program (HAP); $800,000 for the Homeless Prevention Program (HPP); $500,000 for housing quality standard grants; $500,000 State Shelter Subsidy Grant Program (SSSG); and $500,000 (federal) for homeless case management services grants.
Children and Families Aids. Increases Children and Families Aids with an additional $30,500,000 in state and federal funding over the biennium. There are also increases to fully fund the planned foster care rate increases of 2.5 percent per year in 2018 and 2019, as well as an increase in monthly payments to foster parents by 4.0 percent beginning on January 1, 2020.
High Quality Child Care for Low-Income Families. Provides $655,000 in 2019-20 and $749,000 in 2020-21 for the DCF to provide grants to child care providers who offer high-quality child care for families that reside in high-poverty areas in the City of Milwaukee.
Wisconsin Shares. Provides an additional $23,551,700 over the biennium to increase the maximum reimbursement rates in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program.
Kinship Care. Increases the kinship care monthly benefit by 2 percent annually, from $244 to $249 beginning January 1, 2020, and to $254 beginning January 1, 2021.
Family Foundations Home Visiting (FFHV). Increases funding for the Family Foundations Home Visiting (FFHV) program by $3,000,000 in state and federal funding over the biennium. FFHV provides competitive grants to local agencies to provide voluntary home-visiting services to at-risk communities to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Youth Grants. Increases funding for grants to the Wisconsin Chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America by $1,400,000 annually to support programs that improve social, academic, and employment skills of youth by focusing on study habits, intensive tutoring in math and English, and exposure to career options and role models.
Transitional Jobs. Provides $2 million over the biennium in federal funding to expand the Transitional Jobs program.
Lead Abatement. Provides $14,214,600 in state and federal funds in 2019-20 to fund lead abatement for residential properties occupied by children and pregnant women eligible for Medicaid or the federal children's health insurance program.
Farmer Mental Health Support. Provides an additional $100,000 annually, subject to JCF approval, to provide mental health support and assistance to farmers.
Elderly and Disabled Transportation Aids. Increases Elderly and Disabled Transportation Aids by $3 million over the biennium.
Per Pupil Aid. Increases the per pupil aid amount from $654 to $742 per pupil for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Special Education Aid. Increases special education funding by $15,533,200 in 2019-20 and $81,337,100 in 2020-21. It is estimated that the additional aid would cover 26 percent of eligible costs in 2019-20 and 30 percent of eligible costs in 2020-21.
School Mental Health Services. Increases funding by $3,000,000 annually for school mental health services aids and by $3,250,000 annually for school-based mental health services collaboration grants.
Choice Per Pupil Payment. Increases the per pupil payment amount for the Milwaukee, Racine, and Wisconsin Parental Choice Programs by $292 in 2019-20 and a further $254 in 2020-21. As a result, the payment for kindergarten through eighth grade pupils equals $8,046 in 2019-20 and $8,300 in 2020-21. The payment for ninth through twelfth pupils equals $8,692 in 2019-20 and $8,946 in 2020-21.
Special Needs Scholarship Per Pupil Payment. Increases the per pupil payment amount for the Special Needs Scholarship Program by $292 in 2019-20 and a further $254 in 2020-21. As a result, the payments will equal an estimated $12,723 in 2019-20 and $12,977 in 2020-21.
High Cost Transportation Aid. Increases high cost transportation aid by $800,000 annually.
Capitol Update is a periodic e-mail on legislative issues from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
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