This is an open invitation to all individuals, organizations, and community leaders who wish to share their ideas about the 2017-2019 Wisconsin budget, whether the concern is public education, the environment or any other issue. The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) public hearings are the place where citizens give testimony directly to the elected officials who are responsible for creating Wisconsin's next two-year budget. This is the public's opportunity - and obligation - to ensure that our tax dollars are invested in strong, thriving communities.
In previous years, however, we have learned that time to speak at JFC hearings is precious - each person gets only two minutes to speak, often after waiting for many hours. We also know that JFC members can reject the proposed budget and start over from "base budget" once they meet in executive session after the hearings, and that they are likely to insert new policy changes in an "omnibus" package before the bill moves forward - and the public won't have additional opportunity to testify on those changes. So we've asked ourselves: What could we do, together, to make sure our voices are heard and every aspect of our issues that deserve attention are given careful consideration by decision-makers?
Our answer: organize to unite at the JFC hearings.
This effort is organized by volunteers from various grassroots organizations around the state (including partners from the Wisconsin Public Education Network, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and many others), who have connected through the Wisconsin Leadership Development (WiLD) project. Our purpose is to increase the visibility and impact of our efforts by raising our voices together. We will do this by connecting at and in advance of the hearings to prepare and develop strong testimony, and ensure that we are informed and effective messengers on the issues that matter most to our communities.
Joint Finance Committee hearings are open to the public -- so why should you register to join us?
1) Because YOUR VOICE MATTERS! We want to ensure that all the issues that matter most to Wisconsin families are raised in a clear and effective way at the hearings. Our team of organizers, experts and researchers can help you make sure you tell YOUR story in a way that will resonate with decision-makers.
2) To share resources, ideas and concerns in advance of the hearings
3) To bring some fun and excitement to the Joint Finance Committee's public hearings on the budget by creating space to meet and connect with others in our regions.
4) To help us track the issues that are of most concern to Wisconsinites and provide the resources and support needed to meet the needs of those who plan to testify.
5) If you have not testified at a Joint Finance hearing before, there are procedures and practices that can help you be more effective at telling your story.
Please note that this registration form simply connects you with others who share your concerns about the state budget and plan to testify at Joint Finance Committee hearings. Official pre-registration is NOT required to attend JFC hearings and this form does NOT replace the need to sign up to speak once you arrive at the hearing itself.
There are six hearing dates scheduled across the state in April. Our hope is these are not only an opportunity to have our voices heard, but also to connect with others and have fun in the process!
Monday, April 3, 10am – 5pm – UW-Platteville, Ullsvick Hall,30 South Hickory Street, Platteville, WI 53818
Wednesday, April 5, 10 am – 6pm – State Fair Park, Exposition Center, 8200 West Greenfield Avenue, West Allis, WI 53214 (Milwaukee)
Friday, April 7, 10am – 5pm – Berlin High School, Auditorium, 222 Memorial Drive, Berlin, WI 54923
Tuesday, April 18, 10am – 6pm – Spooner High School, Auditorium, 801 County Highway A, Spooner, WI 54801
Wednesday, April 19, 10am – 5pm – Ellsworth High School, Gymnasium, 323 West Hillcrest Street, Ellsworth, WI 54011
Friday, April 21, 10am – 5pm – Marinette High School, Auditorium, 2135 Pierce Avenue, Marinette, WI 54143
For questions or more information, please contact the WiLD Coordinator in your region:
NORTHEAST (Berlin and Marinette hearings): Carol Lenz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ann Muenster (email@example.com)NORTHWEST (Spooner and Ellsworth hearings): Jeff Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bob Wright (email@example.com)SOUTHWEST (Platteville hearing): Ellen Lindgren (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Carlene Bechen (email@example.com)SOUTHEAST (Milwaukee hearing): Jenni Hofschulte (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Stacy Lynch (email@example.com)
There is no cost to register or participate in our efforts, but voluntary contributions will help ensure that events go smoothly, and provide refreshments, staging space for story coaching, materials, and transportation costs. Donations payable to WAES (Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools) can be sent to PO Box 6592, Monona, WI 53716-0592 or made online at https://tinyurl.com/j6dfhch. Please write WI Budget Action in the "instructions to seller" or memo line when making your donation.
"Go Public!" t-shirts will also be available at the hearings (for a $10 suggested donation to cover costs) to help us stand united in support of the public good and strong, thriving communities as we testify on our issues.
Thanks for completing this form. We look forward to having you join us!