State Agencies Submit Budget Requests to Governor

The beginning of the 2019-21 state budget process officially began this week, as state agencies submitted their two-year budget requests to Gov. Scott Walker. As part of the budget process, the governor’s office and State Budget Office will evaluate the agency requests for potential inclusion in the state budget bill that will be introduced early next year.

There are typically very few surprises in the agency budget requests, especially in recent years, as Walker has directed agencies to develop zero growth budget recommendations and identify significant savings when possible.

Tax relief, talent retention, and increased funding for worker training programs are the leading economic development-related issues in the budget requests and are key initiatives for Gov. Walker, who said “the priorities outlined in our agency budget recommendations will help us build the next state budget and make Wisconsin one of the best states in America for working families, students, and seniors and millennials alike.”

WEDA continues to fully analyze the agency budget requests, but a number of initiatives immediately jump out as potential items of interest to WEDA members and economic development interests across the state. Please find below an overview of the economic development-related budget request highlights, which are broken down by state agency:

WI Department of Revenue:

  • Graduate Tax Credit – Create a new graduate tax credit of up to $1,000 per year for five years for new graduates receiving at least a two-year degree, with earned income, and maintaining Wisconsin residency. The idea behind the proposed refundable credit is to retain talent and strengthen Wisconsin’s workforce.
  • Child Care and Dependent Care Tax Credit – Create a new non-refundable tax credit for child and dependent care expenses. This new state tax credit will allow eligible taxpayers to claim a credit ranging from 20% to 35% of qualifying expenses.

Wisconisn Department of Workforce Development

  • Provide $20 million for the Wisconsin Career Creator Program, which includes:
    • $6 million to expand workforce programs including Youth Apprenticeships to middle school.
    • $7 million to provide scholarships for workers who need additional training.
    • $5 million to expand dual enrollment programs, which allow students to be enrolled in two different academic institutions (i.e. high school and college courses).
    • $2 million for the Wisconsin Technical College System to train workers most in-need.
  • Provide $5 million in additional funding for the Wisconsin Fast Forward program. The DWD budget request also seeks to block grant the program so funding can be targeted to high-demand programs.
  • Provide $5 million to continue funding for the Commute-to-Careers Program (managed jointly by DWD and the Department of Transportation). The program helps connect people without access to reliable transportation to jobs.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

  • Talent Attraction (Think.Make.Happen) Funding – Provide $5 million annually to enhance the state’s on-going, inter-agency talent attraction and retention marketing efforts to strengthen Wisconsin’s talent pipeline and build the overall workforce. According to WEDC’s budget request the agency may “deploy a portion of the funds to focus specifically on regional efforts, leveraging local investments for talent attraction marketing initiatives that meet that region’s or industry’s needs and align with state initiatives.”

The WEDA Government Affairs team will continue to monitor the development of the 2019-21 state budget and will engage policymakers throughout the entire budget process.