Apr 05, 2011
April 2011: Stewardship State Budget Update
Timeline for the State Budget Process
Here is an update on the state budget process:
(1) The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) recently held a series of agency briefings, and heard from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on Monday, April 4th. These briefings provided an opportunity for legislators to ask questions of agency officials, and also provided us a chance to learn more about the Walker Administration's priorities and Legislator’s perspective on Stewardship.
(2) After these agency budget briefings are completed, the JFC will hold a series of public hearings in several locations around the state. Traditionally these hearings have provided a good venue for members of land trusts to testify in support of programs like Stewardship and PACE; however, this year may present some unique challenges. It will still be important for our voices to be heard at these events but you should know that there may be large crowds and long waits.
Three Things You Can Do Now
Fortunately, there are other opportunities to get involved. After the public hearings are finished, the JFC will then begin taking up and voting on pieces of the budget. We are still learning when (i.e., in what order) different issues will be taken up by the JFC. This part of the budget process will be very important and will likely begin sometime in late April. Here's a list of three things that you can do right now:
- If you haven't already, get the word out to your members that Stewardship and PACE issues are being considered in the state budget. Please feel free to share our analysis above and direct them to the policy section of our website and to our Blog. Inform your members that calls, emails and letters to members of the Legislature will become very important as the state budget process really gets going in late April. We will follow up in the near future with more information about how and when this type of grassroots effort will be most effective. If you aren't sure who your legislators are, you can find out here
- As land trust leaders you are in a unique position to reach out directly to your state legislators. You are all "grasstops" leaders in your communities and your perspective is extremely important on issues like Stewardship and PACE. Over the next few weeks, there is a good opportunity to further educate legislators about Stewardship and PACE and the value of these programs to the state and to their constituents. This is also a good time to learn more about their priorities and where they stand on our issues. This is particularly important if your land trust operates in the district of a member of the Joint Finance Committee.
- Share examples and concerns with us about how your organization and community would be affected by the Stewardship and PACE proposals in the state budget. We have been collecting examples from around the state to share with legislators, but we can always use more.