Empower Wisconsin | Sept 22, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The state agency that led the lockdown of Wisconsin’s citizens and economy is seeking a whopping 16.4 percent increase its 2021-23 budget.
Tax-and-spend Gov. Tony Evers’ agencies are coming hat in hand with their budget requests for the next biennium, as concerns grow about the impact of the pandemic and restrictive health orders on the state’s economy and revenue picture.
The state Department of Health Services is seeking one of the steeper budget increases in Wisconsin government, driven by requests for billions in additional state and federal funding for continuing costs of Medicaid, and Medicaid expansion.
DHS wants north of $1.14 billion in state fund increases, and $1.71 billion more federal money to fund projected Wisconsin Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus benefit expenditures — at least the way the liberal health bureaucrats calculate it. That’s on top of program revenue and segregated fund increases for the ballooning welfare program.
The total biennial cost to operate the Medicaid program over 2021-23 biennium, according to DHS, is “projected to be” $11.19 billion (all funds considered) in fiscal year 2022 and $11.79 billion in fiscal year 2023. That’s a massive chunk of an $83 billion state budget that big spender Evers will look to substantially increase — despite unsettled economic times.
“It’s what you would expect in a grow government administration led by Tony Evers,” state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) said. Stroebel serves on the Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee.
He said it appears Evers’ bureaucrats want to significantly expand Medicaid in the coming years — at taxpayers expense.
Stroebel said he’ll have to see what the governor ultimately delivers, but he has concerns that agencies don’t appear to be taking into account the significant infusion in funding they got from the federal government in the wake of the pandemic.
“They are awash in cash right now, yet they need more. That’s crazy,” the senator said.