As we enter a new year, the state Legislature is once again preparing to tackle a wide range of issues including the 2013-15 state budget.

In early February, Gov. Scott Walker will deliver his budget address and introduce his executive budget proposal — a roadmap for his fiscal priorities. After the governor’s budget is introduced, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will spend weeks gathering public testimony, analyzing the budget line by line, and making changes based on feedback from concerned citizens, businesses and advocacy organizations.

This will be the third time I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Joint Committee on Finance, and while the state is expected to bring in $1.5 billion in new revenue during the next two years, I know that balancing our budget will require us to prioritize our tax dollars and make smart investments.

As our state’s fiscal picture starts to come into focus, we will learn more about the upcoming budget decisions that will need to be made. For example, State Superintendent Tony Evers has put forward a comprehensive “Fair Funding for Our Future” plan that would restore funding to local schools and provide much-needed property tax

relief in our region. The Department of Health Services also has requested an increase of $1.05 billion to fund critical health care programs that serve low-income, disabled and elderly residents.

Additionally, economic development must continue to be a top priority as we look for ways to provide assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to Forbes Magazine, Wisconsin’s business climate dropped to 42nd in the country and our job growth rate is projected to be second worst in the nation through 2016.

In order to provide long-term economic stability, we need to do a better job of keeping businesses in our state and help them create good-paying jobs.

All of these issues must be balanced against requests from our university and technical college systems to address the state’s “skills gap,” the rising cost of housing inmates in our prisons, upgrades and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure, and the need to hold the line on taxes.

Over the coming months, the state budget process will play out in committee hearing rooms, town hall meetings and media outlets throughout the state. Throughout this process, we need to remember that many families continue to struggle as a result of our slow economic recovery.

By working in a more bipartisan manner and making sound investments, I am hopeful we can help people find jobs, grow our economy and prioritize our limited financial resources to get our state back on track.

I look forward to hearing from you so that I can continue to represent our shared values throughout this process.

Democrat Jennifer Shilling represents Wisconsin’s 32nd Senate District.

(13) comments

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

OneTermYesWeCan

Such a thought out and specific post. Did it take you an hour to compose it?

OneTermYesWeCan88
OneTermYesWeCan88

In my lifetime, I have yet to see the liberal Democrats do one thing that turned out good. Everything they touch goes in the sewer.

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

Scomls

This area is lucky to have Senator Shilling on the Joint Finance Committee. Senator Kapanke had no clue and merely repeated the same three statements without understanding.

Each of the last several budgets have been challenging. Primarily because the cost to maintain the state portion of Medicaid without reducing benefits has been a significant increase each of the last several 2-year budgets. For 2011-13 $1.2 billion was estimates to be needed.

Again, choices will need to be made. Senator Shilling does listen to her constituents and will be a good voice on the committee, even though she is in the minority party.

scomls

Gov Walker has BALANCED the budget - keep it that way. Why is this such a hard concept for Jenny to grasp ?

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

LAXTEA

Over simplify for small brain. The budget process is about making choices. Our senator is looking for input about those choices.

So "everything" would include special credits and incentives that I am sure Scooter and GOP friends would not like to cut for the risk of losing campaign contributions.

capedcrusader

You got that right.

http://dezaraespoliticsmore.freesmfhosting.com/index.php

Seriously Now
Seriously Now

I think some posters should make a resolution not to be whiney little name callers.

LAXTEA

Just cut EVERYTHING, across the board Jennie.

Opus
Opus

Good solution. "Just cut EVERYTHING.." And you wonder why people don't take you seriously...

CelticMan

She is wrong about a couple things:

1. The budget probably won't be introduced followed by weeks of public input, etc. If the Republicans follow their habits, it will be introduced in the dead of night, followed by 2 minutes of taking roll, followed by 30 seconds of a voice vote to pass it.

2. The budget will not outline the governor's fiscal priorities. It will outline the Koch brothers' ideological priorities, and will contain many non-fiscal items that will be an attempt to further cement the Republican hold on power.

LAXTEA

Sounds like sour grapes. That is precisely how the democ-rats do it when they are in the majority, except instead of the Koch bros as benefactors, it is the public sector unions' votes they are buying to solidify their hold on power.

David Lee
David Lee

So your confirming that the Koch brothers are the main benefactors of scooters administration. First honest thing you ever posted.

HelloNewman

Koch Brothers = liberal code for I don't have an argument, maybe I can baffle you with bullsh**

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