Context from IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, Alex Ignatowski:
What happened? Last week, Gov. Evers’ state agencies submitted their 2023- 2025 budget requests, officially kicking off the state budget process which goes from now until next summer. The initial budget requests from agencies are usually boring with no real surprises or policy announcements. However, this time the agencies are looking to legalize Marijuana, expand Medicaid coverage, and increase spending by $3.5B in general purpose revenue. The state operates on a two-year budget and the next biennium stretches from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025.
Why is it important? Given that these requests are supposed to be cost-to- continue, this could be a sign of what is to come if Governor Evers is still in office when the budget is due to the legislature in early 2023. The Governor will submit his budget to the legislature in late winter and deliver his budget address. Governors typically use the budget address to lay out their priorities.
What’s next? Whoever wins the gubernatorial election this fall will be crafting the 2023-2025 state budget and announcing their policy initiatives before a joint session of the legislature. From there the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), with the help of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau will work through the spring and summer of 2023 to mark-up the budget. The legislature has to give its final approval before the document can be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature. The current biennial budget ends on June 30, 2023 and the goal is to wrap up the process prior to that date. If (or when) the budget is not approved by this date, current spending continues until the new budget is signed. With what we have seen already, this budget cycle will definitely be something to keep an eye on.