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Don’t miss your opportunity to speak up about the proposed State Budget
Throughout the month of April, the Joint Committee on Finance will be hosting a series of public hearings on the Governor’s 2017-19 Biennial Budget (Assembly Bill 64/Senate Bill 30). If there are changes that you want to see made or praises you wish to share, now is the time to contact your legislators.
In March, USGBC’s Technical Policy Director, Jeremy Sigmon, and Wisconsin Director, Korinne Haeffel, spent time in Madison visiting with legislators and Gov. Walker’s team. You can review the talking points that we discussed here. The Governor’s budget was among the topics covered. There are several areas of the budget proposal that will impact our sustainable building sector. In Wisconsin alone, LEED construction will contribute 52,000 jobs, $3.03 billion in labor earnings and $4.51 billion to the gross domestic product between 2015-2018 (see Economic Impact Study). We will continue to work to help our members reap these benefits, but it will take our collective voices to inform decision makers of the importance of our work.
The “budget in brief” is available for review. USGBC Wisconsin is watching the Executive Budget Bill. Among other things, the bill would:
- Eliminate the school district revenue limit adjustment for projects to implement energy efficiency measures or to purchase energy efficiency products. This provision previously allowed school districts to spend money above their revenue limits if the funds are spent on qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that reduce energy and operational expenditures.
- Eliminate rental unit energy efficiency standards and certification requirements and certain powers of the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) related to those standards. The bill removes the requirement that an owner of a rental unit have the unit inspected to ensure that it meets minimum energy efficiency standards.
- Require the WI Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure an increase in spending on incentives for projects for improving energy efficiency at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools under state-wide energy efficiency and renewable resources programs that are funded by investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities under current law. The Governor has proposed that up to $20 million of Focus on Energy’s annual budget for each year be allocated to on schools energy efficiency over the biennium.
The proposal is now in the hands of legislators. We encourage you to reach out an speak to them about the important work you do, and let them know how the proposed executive budget will impact it.
With your support, we can preserve funding for programs that help to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves quality of life.