While speculation about the 2011-13 state budget has begun in earnest, few details are actually known at this time. The budget process in Wisconsin is lengthy — it begins in January or February and continues well into the summer. PROFS has already begun lobbying on the upcoming budget and has written Governor-elect Scott Walker requesting a meeting to discuss the budget and other issues important to faculty at UW-Madison.
Here is a brief budget timeline:
Governor-elect Walker will be sworn in on Monday, January 3 and will deliver his State of the State address later in the month. The speech is likely to include hints about the budget. Walker will then deliver his budget message to the Legislature in early February, which coincides with the introduction of the bill in the Senate. The bill is immediately referred to the Joint Finance Committee.
The bill is then analyzed by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and public hearings are held throughout the state. The finance committee then begins executive sessions where amendments to the bill are made. Historically, this period occurs in March and April.
Once the bill passes out of the Joint Finance Committee, it is taken up by the Legislature where additional changes may occur. This usually happens in May and June. A conference committee made up of members of both houses meets to hammer out any differences in the bill.
While the governor is expected to sign the bill into law by July 1, the process has been known to drag out weeks, or even months. The governor’s line-item veto power allows him to make final changes to the bill.