The Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee voted Tuesday afternoon to allocate additional overtime funding as part of a broader Department of Corrections package.
But the plan, which passed on an 11-4 party-line vote, didn’t address some of Gov. Tony Evers’ proposals, including his request to use $15 million in borrowing for three different barracks units in the state.
Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, told reporters after the vote the panel could consider the language — as well as other Corrections-related provisions that weren’t included in the motion — as part of the capital budget.
The language the budget committee approved Tuesday would make available $122 million in general purpose revenue and program revenue over the biennium for overtime funding costs, about $7.3 million less than what Evers wanted.
The plan comes as overtime costs have been increasing across the state due in large part to high job vacancies. The largest use of overtime in 2017-18 was due to position vacancies, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, when 844,195 overtime hours were logged at a cost of $23.6 million.
Other provisions the committee passed as part of the Department of Corrections motion include: $90.8 million in general purpose revenue toward contract bed funding for inmate placements in certain county jails and a $400,000 general purpose revenue expansion of Windows to Work, a jobs services program administered with the Department of Workforce Development.
While committee member Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, touted the investments in Corrections staff and programs, Democratic colleague Rep. Evan Goyke of Milwaukee noted a number of Evers’ proposals weren’t addressed in the language.
That includes an expansion of Chippewa County’s Stanley Correctional Institution Health Services Unit, a nearly 20,000-square-foot facility that would provide health, dental and psychological services.
Also excluded was Evers’ proposed 144-bed barracks at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac for female inmates and two 144-bed barracks at Jackson Correctional Institution in Black River Falls for male inmates, in addition to other provisions.
Nygren, though, said they may be taken up as part of the committee’s consideration of the capital budget, which was previously rejected by the state’s Building Commission.
The Joint Finance Committee is planning to meet again Thursday to take up the K-12 education budget. Nygren said members are also looking at voting next Tuesday, though he didn’t say whether there would be two meetings or one next week.
“We’ll go one day at a time,” he told reporters.