2017-19 Budget Action Alert

Dear WAEE Members and Stakeholders Across the State,

This is an important time of year for advocacy. The Governor’s budget is now able to be amended by legislators. If there are important changes you want to see made, now is the time to reach out to your legislators.

Here are two issues WAEE would like to bring to your attention:

  • The Governor is proposing setting the Forestry Mill Tax to 0%
  • Representative Mursau (R- Crivitz) may move to reinstate the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB)

Read below for more information and to find out what you can do and specific asks

What You Can Do:

  1. Find your legislator here: http://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/ (enter your address in the upper right corner)
  2. Reach out to your legislator:
    1. Option 1: Contact your legislator via phone, email, or snail mail and use the information below and your own personal stories to let them know the amendment you support (see below for specific asks).
    2. Option 2: Share your story at a Joint Finance Committee public hearing:
      • Monday, April 3: UW-Platteville campus
      • Wednesday, April 5: State Fair Park, West Allis
      • Friday, April 7: Berlin High School
      • Tuesday, April 18: Spooner High School
      • Wednesday, April 19: Ellsworth High School
      • Friday, April 21: Marinette High School
    3. Option 3: Both of the above – you go, you EE advocate!
  3. Let us know what you find out! If you talk with or hear back from your legislator, let WAEE know what they say so we can coordinate efforts. Please send your updates to WAEE Advocacy Chair, Betsy Parker at betsy.parker@waee.org.
  4. Share it out! Put your actions on facebook and other social media outlets – you can use the hashtag #WiEEAdvocacy or #WiEnviroEd.

 

Specific Asks:

Here’s what to ask your legislator:

  1. Do you support amending the budget to maintain the Mill Tax, which supports forestry and forestry education?
  2. If Rep. Mursau were to move to amend the budget to reinstate the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, would you support him? [Important: if they say yes, please let us know!]

 

Background Information:

Forestry Mill Tax – More Information:

The state has collected a tax on property owners since 1930 to help forests; this tax is often called the “forestry mill tax” and is about 16¢ per $1,000 of property tax. This tax is gathered with other property taxes on a calendar year basis. For 2014-15, the tax produced approximately $81 million and has funded work such as: Forestry Public Education Curriculum (LEAF), the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, Urban Forestry Grants, and the Northern Great Lakes Museum, among many others.

For more information regarding the revenue and expenditures for the Forestry Account, review pages 26-46 of the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Information Paper 60.

Also find editorial info from the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and the Forest Stewards Guild.

 

Wisconsin Environmental Education Board – More Information:

The Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) was established with the creation of 1989 Wisconsin Act 299. This statute mandated “the environmental education board to provide advice and assistance to the state superintendent in identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education in public schools, including needs for teacher training, curriculum development and the development and dissemination of curriculum materials.”

A grants program to support environmental education for all Wisconsinites was also established and has been administered by the WEEB. Over a recent 10-year period, WEEB awarded nearly $4.5 million in grants to schools, non-profits, tribal governments, municipalities, and agencies across Wisconsin, which leveraged an additional $5 million in support and 140,000 hours of service for projects serving over 900,000 participants. Find more info at WAEE.org.

During the 2015-17 Budget cycle provisions to eliminate the WEEB as of June 30, 2017 were enacted.

 

Want to ensure you stay updated on action alerts like this? Check your WAEE membership status!