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Sen. John Jagler to chair Senate education committee

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) announced Senate Committees and committee membership for the 2023-24 Legislative Session. 

State Senator John Jagler (R-Watertown, pictured) has been announced as Chair of the Senate Committee on Education. He has been a member of the the Senate education committee under retired former chair Alberta Darling as well as the Assembly education committee before being elected to the state Senate.

Rounding out the committee for the Senate GOP: (more…)

Rep. Joel Kitchens to chair Assembly education committee

Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has announced the membership of the Assembly standing committees for the 2023-24 legislative session that begins with the inauguration of members on January 3, 2023. 

State Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay, pictured) has been announced as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education. Before being elected to the state legislature, Rep. Kitchens was a member of the Sturgeon Bay school board. 

Rounding out the committee for the Assembly GOP: (more…)

Governor announces 2023 State of the State Address, 2023-25 Budget Message dates

On Friday (12/9), Gov. Tony Evers announced the dates and times for his 2023 State of the State Address and his 2023-25 biennial budget message. 

2023 State of the State Address
Tues., Jan. 24, 2023 | 7 p.m. CT 
Assembly Chamber 
Wisconsin State Capitol

2023-25 Biennial Budget Message 
Wed., Feb. 15, 2023 | 7 p.m. CT
Assembly Chamber 
Wisconsin State Capitol 

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Study Committee on Shared School Services to meet Wednesday

The Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Shared School District Services will meet Wednesday, November 30, 2022, at 10:00 am in Room 300 Northeast, State Capitol.  The meeting agenda can be found here.

The study committee will discuss its assignment as well as the following proposals which have been distributed to committee members and are available online:

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Senator Darling announces retirement, signaling new Senate Education Committee chair

Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling announced this morning that she will retire effective Dec. 1., ending a 32-year career in the state Legislature.  The resignation means that Senate Republicans will not begin the January 2023 legislative with a “veto-proof” two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate and likely will not hold such a super majority until a special election is held to fill Darling’s seat, which leans heavily Republican. 

A former teacher, Darling, 78, was a long-time member of the Senate Education Committee and chaired the committee for the past two years.  She previously serving as the vice-chair of the committee in the 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2019-20 sessions.  She also served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.  Her departure means a new chairperson will take over the Senate Education Committee.  
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State’s potential budget surplus projected to be nearly $6.6 billion

In a statutorily required report, the state Department of Administration (DOA) today said the state’s fiscal condition is in the best position it has ever been, and it expects a nearly $6.6 billion budget surplus to end the current fiscal year on June 30, 2023.  That figure is well above previous expectations that the surplus would total roughly $5 billion. 

In addition, the DOA report issued today anticipates growth in state revenues will add another $1.5 billion to the state’s coffers over the two-year period beginning on July 1, 2023.

The report provides the first look at how the 2023-25 (biennial or two-year) state budget shapes up and the outlook is encouraging. The report finds state agencies have requested a total combined spending increase of $3.6 billion in new general purpose revenue (GPR) over the 2023-25 biennium. (General purpose revenue (GPR) is used to fund state aid to schools, among other things, and is derived mainly from state income and sales taxes.)  

Comparing the projected GPR surplus in the current biennium and the expected GPR revenue growth in the next biennium with state agencies’ budget requests, the report indicates the state could fund every single agency request and still have $4.4 billion left over in the general fund.  (Typically, the Governor’s recommended budget will contain modifications or additions to state agencies’ budget requests, even when the fiscal news is not as positive as it is this year.) 

The report also reiterates that the balance in the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund (a/k/a “Rainy Day Fund”) is slightly more than $1.73 billion.

The takeaway is that there should be plenty of money available in state coffers to both increase public school funding and cut state taxes, which could satisfy both Governor Evers’ goals and the goals of some legislative leaders, particularly leaders in the state Senate. (more…)