State Biennial Budget
Comparison of Disability Advocates’ Budget Positions with the Governor’s Proposed Budget
Governor Scott Walker introduced his state 2013-15 biennial budget on February 20. It is now Assembly Bill 40. Advocates are reviewing the proposal to determine its impact on people with disabilities. Below is a short summary of some key items. More information will be distributed as it becomes available.
Medicaid Health Services:
Governor: Provide cost-to-continue funding for services to core populations. Reduce income eligibility for families for BadgerCare to 100% federal poverty level (FPL) from 200%. Maintain Medicaid coverage for pregnant women with incomes up to 300% of FPL. Reject federal health reform funds but develop new waiver program with limited benefits for adults without dependent children earning up to 100% of FPL.
Advocates: Maintain program in its current state. Restore the funding cuts to BadgerCare made in last budget. Accept federal health reform funding to expand Medicaid coverage to people up to 133-138% FPL.
Medical Assistance Purchase Plan:
Governor: Require individuals to have jobs that withhold taxes in order to buy into the Plan.
Advocates: Ensure people with disabilities who perform in-kind work are able to access Medicaid before making this requirement.
Children’s Long-Term Supports:
Governor: No funding increases or cuts.
Advocates: Increase funding by $5.4 million to provide services to 1,000 children on waiting lists. Provide $1.3 million for short-term service coordination for 600 waiting families.
Governor: No changes.
Advocates: Reduce the frequency of prior authorization reviews and increase the duration of services.
Family Care and IRIS:
Governor: No expansion, programs frozen.
Advocates: Expand programs statewide to eliminate waiting lists for services.
Governor: No changes.
Advocates: Consolidate Southern and Wisconsin Centers for the Developmentally Disabled.
Governor: Provide $30 million to expand state-funded services. Expand coordinated service teams and establish peer-run respite services.
Advocates: Provide $10.2 million to pay the “state share” of Comprehensive Community Services benefit. Increase of $3.7 million to expand coordinated service teams for children statewide. Provide $1.3 million to develop and pilot peer- run respite services.
Governor: No funding increases for categorical or high-cost special education services. $21 million to establish a Special Needs Voucher Program included.
Advocates: Increase of $153 million over biennium to raise reimbursement rate to districts for special education services from 26% to 30%. Increase of $1.5 million over biennium for high-cost services. Do not include Special Need Vouchers in budget.
Governor: Funding to maintain current Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) federal match rate. Provide funding and position in DVR to coordinate on-the-job training opportunities.
Advocates: Provide full match funding for DVR to receive all available federal dollars. Provide funding for Family Care managed care organizations (MCOs) to hire 1.0 employment specialists for every 1,000 working-age adults.
Governor: Not included.
Advocates: Restore the 10% cut in Transit Operating Aids made during the last budget. Increase funding for Specialized Transportation Assistance (85.21) by $678,000 to keep counties at least at their 2012 levels and add increase of $5 million to meet needs. Support the creation of Regional Transit Authorities.
AB 40 has been referred to the Joint Committee on Finance. The Finance Committee will hold hearings around the state sometime in April to gather public input. The hearings have not yet been scheduled.
All state legislators will eventually vote on the biennial budget. To have an impact on the budget proposal, please contact your own state representative and state senator.