Photo caption: Wisconsin residents are welcome to share their priorities for the 2023-25 state budget with members of the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee during an April 11 listening session at UW-Eau Claire. The listening session is one of four public hearings the committee will host around the state as it considers the state’s biennial budget.
This month, Wisconsin residents will have an opportunity to talk directly to the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee about budget priorities for the 2023-25 state budget — including an opportunity at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire will host a public budget listening session by the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on April 11. The hearing will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center.
The listening session is one of four public hearings the committee will host around the state as it considers the state’s biennial budget. The hearings give residents an opportunity to testify on what they believe should be priorities in the budget.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for people across western Wisconsin to share their priorities with state legislators,” says Chancellor James Schmidt. “I will be speaking in support of completion funding for UW-Eau Claire’s new Science and Health Sciences Building, a transformational project which Gov. Evers has included in his proposed budget, and for the UW System’s 2023-25 budget request.”
While others also may speak about UW-Eau Claire’s building project and support for the UW System, Schmidt says he expects dozens — if not hundreds — of other issues to be raised during the listening session.
“One of the things I love about Wisconsin is that people from all walks of life and with an array of interests each get an opportunity to provide oral or written testimony to this committee,” Schmidt says. “Civic involvement is an important part of our state’s governing process.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers held a budget listening session at UW-Eau Claire in January before releasing his budget proposal in February.
Following the legislative listening sessions, the JFC will write its budget proposal for the state Senate and Assembly to consider. The same version of the state budget must pass both the state Senate and Assembly before it is sent to the governor for his signature.
Under state law, the new budget takes effect July 1. If a budget is not approved by then, spending continues at current levels until the governor has signed the new budget into law.
This is the first time since 2009 that the JFC will host a listening session on UW-Eau Claire’s campus. In 2015, it held a session on the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County campus.
Additional JFC sessions are scheduled for April 5 in Waukesha, April 12 in Wisconsin Dells and April 26 in Minocqua. An online comment form is available for those who cannot make the in-person sessions.
Schmidt says it’s fitting that one of the listening sessions will be held on UW-Eau Claire’s campus because the “free exchange of ideas is central to the mission of a university.”
“UW-Eau Claire is honored to host one of the Joint Finance Committee’s public budget listening sessions, allowing any Wisconsinite to present brief testimony on what they believe should be a priority in the next state budget,” Schmidt says. “This is very much in keeping with UW-Eau Claire’s long tradition of being a site for civil dialogue and crucial conversations. I’m pleased the university can provide the committee and members of the public with space to discuss the most pressing issues facing our state.”