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Focusing on Our State Budget

Figure depicting state budget areaOur state legislature will soon take up the budget for the next biennium. The budget is where the rubber meets the road. Without funding to support programs, all we have is talk. Currently, ESTHER is focusing on securing adequate funding in two areas. Will you join us in advocating in support of these budget priorities?

Public Transit

Transit is important in our community to get people to jobs, medical appointments, school, shopping, community events, and more. The Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has recommended investing an additional $36.3 million annually over ten years to strengthen public transit in our state [click to read the report]. We support this recommendation.

We also call for restoration of transit funds cut from the state budget during the 2010-11 biennium. Restoring this 10% cut would bring the state's public transportation budget back to the 2009-10 level. Without the restoration, communities in the Fox Valley and throughout the state will begin feeling the effects in July of this year.

Prison Reform

Treatment Alternative Diversion (TAD) programs have proven their value and their cost-effectiveness in Wisconsin and around the country. Following the recommendation of the recent Health Impact Assessment (read more at, we are calling for $75 million to be appropriated for these programs.

Results of the Health Impact Assessment indicate that such an investment would reduce costs, reduce crime, increase recovery from addictions and mental illness, strengthen families, and improve economic opportunity. Prison is about four times more costly than TAD programs such as alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment courts.

Join us at Madison Action Day [click to learn more] on March 14 to help show your support for these prioritries.

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