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Accountable Government
This budget keeps our commitment to reduce property taxes. Property taxes for the typical homeowner are estimated to be lower in 2018 than they were in 2014, which is lower than they were when we took office in 2010. This is estimated to cumulatively save the typical homeowner roughly $3,000 compared to the trend prior to 2010.
Including this budget, we provided over $8 billion in cumulative tax relief since 2010. This includes reducing income tax brackets, cutting income taxes for all Wisconsin earners focused on the middleclass, and enacting a tax credit for our manufacturing and agriculture industries that is making Wisconsin a destination for employers to locate and expand.
In this budget, we eliminate the state levied property tax. This historic action is coupled with other property tax relief measures that are keeping property taxes down in Wisconsin. This keeps more money in families' pockets and makes Wisconsin an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
We invest $86,935,200 into general transportation aids and into the Local Road Improvement and Bridge Improvement Assistance Programs. These increases for local government general aids are the largest in 20 years.
This budget provides a $63,710,000 increase in safety and maintenance funding. Of this, $33,733,000 will go to Wisconsin’s counties to perform highway maintenance. This increases the total to $373,733,000 over the budget biennium for county performed maintenance.
We provide a significant $1,619,432,400 for State Highway Rehabilitation. This funding will allow the state to complete projects on time, but at a lower cost largely due to savings from competitive bids and lower fuel prices.
The budget provides $563,700,000 for major projects. This funding will keep the I-39/90, USH 10-441, and Verona Road projects on time. The budget also reserves $19.4 million in anticipated project let savings for STH 23.
This budget has numerous provisions that will result in savings to be reinvested into our infrastructure. These include repealing prevailing wage, cutting unneeded positions at the Department of Transportation, and enacting institutional reforms at the department that will together save tens of millions of dollars.
We create a human resources shared services initiative to save taxpayers $2,800,000 over just the next two years. This initiative will streamline human resources policies for better implementation at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
We provide four information technology (IT) purchasing positions to review state IT purchases. The goal is to consolidate similar vendor contracts across the enterprise, strategically source our IT purchases, and save state taxpayer dollars. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on IT supplies and services each year, so trimming even a small percentage of the cost could result in significant savings.
A $63,000,000 program is created for environmental mitigation from Volkswagen settlement funds. Of this amount, up to $32,000,000 may be used for a new statewide capital program to assist local governments in the purchase of transit vehicles. The remaining funds could be used to purchase necessary vehicles for use by the state. These programs would save taxpayer dollars by using settlement funds as opposed to existing dollars for new vehicles. The state will receive $21,000,000 in each of the next three fiscal years for replacement of both state and local vehicles.
We provide $6,700,000 for Next Generation 911 enhancements to ensure our state public service answering points have the capabilities necessary to provide vital 911 services.
We provide 3.25 FTE positions to expand mental health services for girls at Copper Lake School so that they have similar access to mental health services as juvenile males.
There are 8.25 FTE youth counselor positions at Lincoln Hills School to improve staff ratio standards prescribed by the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
This budget provides 9.0 FTE nurse positions for the safe distribution of medication to the juvenile corrections population.
In combination with 2017 Wisconsin Act 32, we increase funding for treatment, alternatives, and diversion programs throughout the state by $4,500,000 and increase funding for drug courts by $300,000.
There is $2,000,000 for beat patrol grants to local governments. These grants are to reimburse for police overtime in cities with population of 25,000 or more.
This budget provides an additional $1,500,000 for the Internet Crimes Against Children program.
We continue $80,000 per year in funding for the Wisconsin Court Appointed Special Advocates to support court appointed special advocacy services for abused and neglected children.
There are an additional 5.0 FTE staff positions to increase support for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. These staff will assist our pharmacy partners to monitor the dispensing of drugs as we work to stem drug abuse in Wisconsin.
We provide $2,000,000 per year to operate a data analytics system within our Medical Assistance programs. The system is designed to identify, prevent, and eliminate fraud in our state Medical Assistance programs.
There is additional funding for local income maintenance consortia to investigate and prevent fraud. Funding is increased from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 per year.
We increase funding for our veterans service organization grants. Our state Disabled American Veterans transportation grant will increase to $200,000 per year. Veterans service organization grants will increase by $60,000 per year. Camp American Legion will receive a grant increase to $75,000 per year. These increases will assist these organizations as they help veterans with their claims, with transportation of veterans to health care, and help veterans and families heal from the wounds of war.
We provide an additional $6,250,000 for Children and Family Aids and $460,600 annually to fully fund a previously-enacted foster care rate increase. Total state Children and Family Aids funding will rise to $74,308,000 in fiscal year 2018-19. These funds are used to assist abused and neglected children as well as other children and their families in need.
There is an additional $2,000,000 to provide services to sex trafficking victims. Total funding will rise to $6,000,000 over the biennium.
Foster care and kinship care rates paid to parents and relatives will increase by 2.5 percent in each of the next two calendar years or by $1,140,100 over the biennium.
Additional Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding of $3,900,000 annually is allocated to the state's home visiting program to expand the number of families served and increase the number of parents equipped with the tools needed to improve chances of success for parents and their children. Program funding would total $14,297,700 in each fiscal year and $28,595,400 over the biennium.
Medical Assistance nursing home and personal care reimbursement rates will both rise by 2 percent in each year of the biennium. This is the largest increase in over a decade. In addition, we increase by $5,000,000 support for nursing homes to provide care for residents with dementia and other challenging behaviors.
We provide funding to increase Family Care capitation rates. This $25,000,000 increase in state funding is intended to address workforce shortages and retention challenges with caregivers.
The waiting list for the Children’s Long-Term Support Waiver program is eliminated. This provides $39,551,900 and is estimated to provide services to 2,200 children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or severe emotional disturbances on the waiting list.
There is $3,149,000 to maintain 19 dementia care specialists and increase the number to 24. These positions will assist families as they take care of their loved ones and seniors dealing with dementia.
We provide an increase of $3,611,700 for assistant district attorney and deputy district attorney pay progression. This will provide for two $1.97 per hour pay increases and is intended to improve our retention of experienced district attorney staff. In addition, $3,887,600 will be provided for pay progression for assistant state public defenders.
Rewarding Work
This budget continues to move individuals from government dependence to the true independence that comes from work. Building on the successful reforms to the FoodShare program, this budget creates a pilot program in which able-bodied adults with school-age dependents in two regions of the state will be required to be working, be looking for work, or engaged in worker training. Tens of thousands of individuals on FoodShare have found employment since statewide implementation of the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program.
This budget includes a Medicaid waiver that will allow the state to include a requirement for certain childless adults to be engaged in work, looking for work, or enrolled in a worker training program for the first time if approved by the federal government.
We expand drug screening and testing requirements in numerous state programs. This expansion will extend testing and treatment options to thousands of additional public assistance recipients. This will help move them from government dependence to the dignity and independence that comes through work.
The Learnfare school attendance requirements are strengthened to ensure students are attending school as opposed to just enrolled as is the case under current law. This aims to reduce truancy that leads to poor academic performance.
Wisconsin Fast Forward training grants are increased by $11,500,000. Of this amount, $5,000,000 is allocated specifically for technical colleges. The remaining increase will be used for apprenticeships, mobile laboratories to train offenders reentering the workforce, dual enrollment programs, and other competitive workforce development awards.
We invest $400,000 into fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) technical assistance grants to nonprofit organizations to provide services to school districts. School districts would also benefit from an additional $500,000 per year in Fab Lab incentive grants. Since the program was created 34 school districts have received grants of up to $25,000. Fab Labs provide hands-on experience to students in the skills they need for jobs in the 21st century.
We eliminate an eligibility cliff in the Wisconsin Shares program for child care. Currently, at a certain income threshold, a family loses eligibility for any child care subsidy which creates disincentives to work more hours or accept pay raises. Eliminating the cliff by creating a phaseout will support more individuals to successfully make the transition from government dependence to independence by rewarding work.
We provide $75,000 per year for a Wisconsin municipality to pilot a homelessness employment program based on Albuquerque's "Better Way" initiative.  The program is intended to provide homeless individuals with work experience and work routine through jobs cleaning up municipal parks and public spaces with a goal of transitioning them into permanent employment. 
We provide $500,000 per year in grants funded by TANF funds to homeless shelters for intensive case management services for homeless families, with a focus on financial management counseling, continued school enrollment for children, connecting parents who are job training graduates or who have a recent work history with their local workforce development board to employment, and enrolling unemployed or underemployed parents in W-2 or FSET. 
The Medicaid Assistance Purchase Plan (MAPP) program is strengthened to provide incentives for individuals with disabilities to engage in work. These changes will eliminate a current premium cliff and give participants greater incentives to work. The MAPP program allows individuals with disabilities to be eligible for Medical Assistance who otherwise would not be due to income and asset requirements.
The Supporting Parents Supporting Kids program is expanded to three additional counties in fiscal year 2018-19. This program helps noncustodial parents not meeting their child support obligations find employment and connect with their children.
An occupational licensing reform study is created. The Department of Safety and Professional Services would conduct a study to identify barriers that occupational licensing requirements create to employment. The study would examine the financial burden these licenses have on license seekers and whether these licenses are necessary to protect public health and welfare.
We allow a person to take the journeyman plumber’s examination if the individual has completed an apprenticeship in this or any state, passed a journeyman plumber’s exam in any state, and has practiced for at least five years under a journeyman’s plumber’s license or equivalent license.
We enact reforms to the Homestead Tax Credit to preserve it for seniors and the disabled while encouraging able-bodied adults to work to qualify.
A grant of $5,000,000 is provided to partner with Brown County, educational institutions, and other industry partners to create the Brown County STEM Innovation Center. This center in Green Bay will provide space for a new University of Wisconsin-Green Bay mechanical engineering program as well as space for high-tech startups. The center will not only help to fill high demand jobs in engineering, but be a place to grow our manufacturing sector.
The budget provides $55,189,000 in funding for a new engineering facility at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
A grant of $5,000,000 is provided to the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. The funding would help complete the Alzheimer’s and dementia care unit.
A grant of $5,000,000 is provided for the La Crosse Center. The funding will assist to complete renovation and expansion of the La Crosse Convention Center.
There is $2,000,000 to expand the Windows to Work program and other vocational training programs for exoffenders. Also, we provide $660,800 to extend the Opening Avenues to Reentry Success program to more counties. The program provides employment training for mentally ill offenders. These programs aim to reduce recidivism by successful reentry of offenders into employment which saves taxpayer dollars and fills job openings.
We created a five-year offender reentry demonstration project using a trauma-informed approach and targeted to formerly incarcerated males who are noncustodial parents over age 18 and returning to certain Milwaukee neighborhoods. The TANF funding would total $187,500 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $250,000 in fiscal year 2018-19, for a biennial total of $437,500.
There is funding for graduate medical training of $1,500,000. This funding is intended to increase our medical professionals available to work in high need rural and underserved areas of the state.
We provide $2,000,000 for training allied health professionals and advanced practice clinicians. This funding will provide grants to health systems to train and retain health professionals in rural hospitals and clinics.
We increase funding for the Rural Physician Residency Assistance program by $100,000 per year. This is intended to increase the number of rural residency positions in the state.
Pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution and consistent with its intent, I have made 98 vetoes to the budget. These vetoes maintain our priorities while eliminating items that could be categorized as earmarks and nonfiscal policy items. These vetoes also reduce spending, eliminate unfunded mandates, and make technical corrections. These vetoes increase the general fund balance by $16,511,100 GPR over the biennium and reduce overall spending by roughly $4,759,400 GPR. These vetoes will also improve the structural balance heading into the next budget biennium by an estimated $71,143,500 GPR.
We have enacted numerous measures together that have moved Wisconsin forward. We cut taxes by billions of dollars. We enacted historic reforms proving Wisconsin continues to be a leader in the nation. We now have surpluses instead of deficits. We have some of the lowest unemployment in the nation and more people working that ever before. Our state’s economy is growing and our wages are rising.
This budget invests in our shared priorities of education, tax relief, and workforce development. I am appreciative of the Legislature’s work on this budget and look forward to continuing our good work for the people of Wisconsin.
Respectfully submitted,
Veto Message
Table of Contents
A. Agriculture, Environment and Justice
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  1. Livestock Premises Identification    
Department of Corrections
2. Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program    
3. Earned Release Program Expansion    
4. Inmate Work Opportunity Training    
5. Long-Term Service Awards  
6. Mental Health Staffing at Oshkosh, Waupun, Green Bay and Columbia        
7. Opening Avenues to Reentry Success    
8. Planning Concerning Correctional Facilities  
9. Geriatric Prison Facility      
District Attorneys
10. Creation of a Prosecutor Board    
Judicial Council
11. Restore Judicial Council      
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
12. Standard Budget Adjustments    
Department of Natural Resources
13. Use of Unobligated Stewardship Bonding Authority
14. Vacant Forestry and Parks Positions  
15. Council on Forestry Report    
16. Tainter Lake Water Quality