After a nearly three-month break, the State’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) quickly resumed work on the state budget in late August and finalized their full amendment to the budget bill September 6. The budget bill, as amended by the Committee, will now move to the Assembly and Senate—with action by the Assembly already scheduled September 13 and action in the Senate as soon as late next week.
Gov. Scott Walker will receive the amended budget bill immediately following action by the Senate. If the Senate and Assembly act next week on the bill, the Governor could have the final budget bill and veto message signed before the end of the month.
The budget’s substitute amendment supported by the Committee includes several key WHA priorities:
- A $25 million increase in state support of the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, resulting in over $60 million All Funds (state and federal dollars) increase in the program;
- A $1.2 million All Funds payment to support rural hospitals who meet the Medicaid payer mix threshold for DSH but do not provide obstetric services;
- Rural health care workforce investments of $1 million annually for training advanced practice clinicians and allied health professionals;
- A $1.5 million increase for the state’s Graduate Medical Education matching grant program; and,
- A $2.25 million pilot program for intensive provider care coordination services for Medicaid patients who are high-utilizers of hospital emergency departments.
In addition to finishing the JFC’s nearly eight-month deliberation of the state budget, the JFC also recommended passage of legislation creating a new electronics and information technology manufacturing zone intended to incent an investment upwards of $10 billion into southeast Wisconsin for electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The Assembly and Senate both need to take action on this legislation before the September 30 deadline established in a memorandum of understanding between Walker and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou. The Senate is planning to take up the final, amended bill September 12 and the Assembly is planning to take up the bill September 14.