AFSCME WI 2019-2021 Budget Priorities

Re: AFSCME WI 2019-2021 Budget Priorities Talking Points, Joint Finance Committee Hearings

The following talking points are intended to help AFSCME members, our families, and communities support Governor Evers’ proposed 2019-2021 budget measures before the Joint Finance Committee. If you have questions in preparing your testimony, please contact AFSCME WI Communications Director, Valerie Landowski at [email protected].

Introduce yourself: name, city, AFSCME local, and job title. Provide 3-4 sentences about your story as an AFSCME member and how it ties to the budgetary policy issues pivotal in your daily life. You are encouraged to highlight additional policies on behalf of AFSCME members.

Department of Children & Families

Strong families are Wisconsin’s cornerstone. The Budget proposal reaffirms these values by increasing funding for childcare improvement programs, including $40 million to support badly needed child care regulation and licensing, and a funding increase for certified child care providers. All of Wisconsin’s kids deserve safe and healthy child care. We must invest in the childcare providers, disadvantaged communities, and child support agencies, which deserve these investments on behalf of our kids.


Every day AFSCME members work to keep our communities safe. It is high time that the State Legislature invest in the Department of Corrections. Governor Evers’ Budget proposal offers real solutions to the DOC crises we currently face, including adding 160 full-time positions, reducing prison overcrowding, supplementing overtime costs for DOC employees, and increasing the wages for correctional officers which are currently $6/hour less than our neighboring states. To ensure our communities and DOC are secure and sustainable, these policies must be supported.  

Workers’ Rights

A prosperous workforce is essential to ensuring a high quality of life in Wisconsin. We call on the State Legislature to ensure that workers are respected and appreciated by supporting the increasing of state employee wages 2% in each year of the biennium, increasing the minimum wage, restoring prevailing wage, repealing so-called “Right to Work” laws, and restoring project labor agreements. Moreover, we ask that the State Legislature to support the vital expansion of family and medical leave so that families may grow, heal, and thrive.

Department of Health Services

Our citizens deserve to lead healthy lives and to do so, we rely on a sustainable Department of Health Services, accessible healthcare system, and robust physical and mental healthcare programs. We call on the State Legislatures support the creation of 192 full-time positions through expansion of multiple programs, Medicaid Expansion to add coverage for 82,000 Wisconsinites thus reducing state costs by $320 million, protections for individuals with preexisting conditions in the insurance marketplace, and importation of generic prescription drugs. Moreover, the budget proposal expansion of dental care and creation of a new license for dental therapists across the state, with a focus on regions designated as dental provider shortage areas, is severely needed.

Our citizens deserve the right to age with dignity. We support the budget increases in expenditure authority to raise nursing home rate reimbursements while adding 12 full-time positions to the Bureau of Assisted Living to manage growing number of assisted living facilities. Our aging citizens require reliable, quality services and these measures address their needs.

Lastly, to address grave mental health concerns, the budget proposes funding and positions to expand the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center by 50 full-time positions and the Winnebago Mental Health Institution – adding 51 full-time positions and supervisory staff for evening and overnight shifts. These policies ensure that Wisconsinites receive quality care and their providers are supported and invested in.


Wisconsin’s world-class educational heritage must be preserved and an invested in. We ask that the State Legislature support this budget which puts our kids first by investing in their public education. The Budget returns the State funding of public schools to 2/3 of school revenue, increases funding for special education, stops increases in unaccountable private voucher and charter schools, and strengthens licensing regulations for teachers at private voucher schools. These policies will ensure our kids continue to receive high quality education and that those who teach our kids are equipped to do so.

We ask that the State Legislature show its commitment to the UW System by supporting the $150 million budget increases to state funds while continuing the tuition freeze. This Budget also values our Wisconsin Technical College System by significantly funding it by an additional $18 million and allowing for it to increase funding though levy limit adjustment. To ensure that young people continue to live, work, and raise their families in Wisconsin for generations, investment in Wisconsin education cannot be compromised.


Wisconsin’s working families have earned the right to an economic system which uplifts them and bolsters a pathway to the middle-class. We call on the State legislature to support the budget measure to support capital gains exclusion limitations, the creation of the “FAIR” Act to provide a middle-class tax cut in a fair and sustainable method and strengthening of the Homestead Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. These measures help Wisconsin homeowners and renters who work low-wage jobs offset their property tax burdens, provides tax relief to working families, and creates an ethical tax system for Wisconsin families.

Moreover, we strongly support the budget proposal to provide specific or general financial aid to local governments or Shared Revenue. Over the last decade, Shared Revenue to counties and municipalities was slashed by 9.2%, devastating many local governments. To assist our communities, we support the proposal to increase the funding for Shared Revenue by 2%.

To create a just economic system in Wisconsin we must hold corporations accountable to working families. We support this budget proposal to prohibit companies from claiming tax deduction for shipping Wisconsin jobs to another state or country. Moreover, we must bring increased accountability and transparency to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (“WEDC”) and these measures should be supported by the State Legislature.

Voting Rights

Fair, free, and accessible elections are essential to our democratic system. We ask that the State Legislature support voting accessibility for all eligible Wisconsinites through automatic voter registration. Additionally, it is a principal of democracy that citizens choose our representatives, they don’t choose us. The Governor’s budget proposal seeks a nonpartisan redistricting commission and requires it to work with the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau to draw legislative and congressional redistricting maps in a fair manner. These policies are essential to preserve Wisconsin’s democratic processes.   


After years of neglected and crumbling infrastructure, we call on the State Legislature to sustainably fund transportation and fix our roads. The budget proposal establishes a highway borrowing plan which is the lowest in 20 years while still repairing our vital roads and transportation without passing the hefty bill to our children. We call on the State Legislature to also support the measure to establish a 10% increase to the mileage aid payment to $2,628 to assist local governments in maintaining Wisconsin's roads and an increase to the Local Road Improvement Program by 2% in 2020 and 2% again in 2021 for entitlement and discretionary grants.