Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee Begins Voting to Reshape State Budget Bill

The Joint Finance Committee, the state Legislature’s budget writing committee, has begun voting to reshape Governor Tony Evers’ $91 billion state budget bill proposal. The most significant action the GOP-controlled committee took was the approval (along party lines) of a motion to pull more than 380 items from Evers’ two-year spending plan for the state. The items removed from the legislation were either non-fiscal policy items or provisions included by the governor that are opposed by the Republican majority in the Legislature, including legalization of recreational marijuana, Medicaid expansion, and over a billion dollars in tax increases.

More specifically to WEDA, the motion removed the following items from the 2021-23 budget bill:

  • Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit – The JFC motion removed the Governor’s proposal to limit the amount of qualified production activities income that may be claimed by manufacturing firms under the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit to $300,000 per tax year. Removing this provision from the budget bill was a top WEDA legislative priority.
  • Workforce Housing TIF Law Changes – As expected, the JFC motion unfortunately removed the measure to make several changes to current tax incremental financing (TIF) law that would encourage the development of much-need workforce housing in communities across Wisconsin.
  • Dark Store Loophole – As expected, the JFC motion removed the provision to close the Dark Store “loophole” in Wisconsin.

The Joint Finance Committee will continue to meet during the month of May to take further action on the budget bill. However, they are not expected to address major spending items until next month.