Legislature Passes State Budget

This week, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a state budget for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium, which began on July 1. The Assembly approved the budget bill (Assembly Bill 68) on June 29, with the Senate concurring in the bill the following day. The two-year budget proposal, assembled by the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee (JFC), would spend $89.2 billion and cut income and property taxes by $3.4 billion. Once the Legislature formally presents the budget to Governor Tony Evers (D), he has six days (excluding Sundays) to decide whether to veto the bill in its entirety, sign the bill, or to sign the bill with partial vetoes.

On Tuesday, June 29, the state Assembly voted 64-34 to approve the budget, with four Democratic representatives joining all Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. That included Representatives Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska), Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay), Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield), and Don Vruwink (D-Milton). On Wednesday, June 30, the Wisconsin Senate voted 23-9 to concur in the state budget. Democratic Senators Janet Bewley (Mason), Brad Pfaff (Onalaska), and Jeff Smith (Brunswick) joined all present Republicans in backing the bill. Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton), currently serving a military assignment, was the only legislator absent from either house for the final budget vote.

Although the Legislature had already set aside several days this week for a normal floor period, Republican leaders convened an extraordinary session to consider the budget and several other bills. That had the effect of limiting debate times and procedural maneuvers that could have extended or delayed the process. This year marks the first time since 2007 that a state budget has cleared either house of the Legislature with the support of legislators from both parties.