Advocacy in Action - August 2017

Advocacy ,

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved just over $1 billion for building and facilities projects as part of the overall two-year state budget. The committee voted unanimously to add $223 million for state projects in addition to Governor Walker’s $792 million in recommendations for state buildings and facilities. This includes new construction and remodeling and maintenance of existing buildings.

The full legislature is expected to pass the increased state facility budget as part of the biennial state budget bill when it goes to the floor in both houses in coming weeks. Governor Walker must still approve the increase after he receives the bill from the legislature. The governor has not made public his position on the increased spending.

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) resumed work on the state 2017-19 budget after a two month break due to disagreement between the houses of the legislature. Governor Walker and legislative leaders have stated they expect the entire budget to be completed in September. Transportation and taxes are the last areas of the biennial budget to be resolved by the Joint Finance Committee which has schedule those items to be taken up on September 5th.

The effort to land the $10 billion Foxconn plant in southeastern Wisconsin created momentum to resolve the remaining budget issues including an increase in the state facilities budget. JFC Co-chair Alberta Darling said the engineering building at Platteville got a boost from Foxconn’s need for employees.

Most of the increase spending for state facilities is for the University of Wisconsin system. The JFC motion includes:

  • $55 million for a new Sesquicentennial Hall at Platteville
  • $23.7 million for a renovation and addition at UW-Platteville’s Boebel Hall.
  • $35.9 million to renovate Wyllie Hall at UW-Parkside.
  • $32.7 million to overhaul utility infrastructure on the UW-Madison campus, including work on thermal, electrical, water and sewer facilities in two areas of campus: along Lathrop Drive and in the Bascom Hill area.
  • $23.6 million to build a parking ramp on the site of Parking Lot 62 on the UW-Madison campus.
  • $4 million for renovations to UW-Extension’s Lowell Hall, UW-Madison campus
  • $23.7 million to remodel living units and replace a boiler at Mendota Mental Health Institute.
  • $4.8 million to build a chronic wasting disease processing center for the state Department of Natural Resources — replacing an existing facility in Black Earth. The plan calls for the state to buy the building housing the DNR Science Operations Center in Monona, then build, as an addition, a 4,700-square-foot chronic wasting disease processing center.