Every two years, the Governor must present a state budget to the legislature, and this is traditionally done in the early part of February in odd-numbered years. The legislature debates the budget, and is expected to pass the budget before the first of July, which is the beginning of the fiscal year for the state. You can find the schedule for when the budget is being discussed at the state legislature’s website.
You can also find a schedule for televised activities of the budget committee (Joint Committee on Finance) and floor action on the budget at the website of WisconsinEYE, the state’s version of CSPAN, which provides coverage of the state legislature streamed on the internet and televised on at least two of the state’s major cable providers, Charter and Time-Warner. You can use portions of WisconsinEYE’s audio and/or video coverage, with attribution, in your news stories.
The Department of Administration helps the Governor develop and implement the budget, and you can find a lot of information about the budget at the department’s website. Here you can find information about the biennial budget and links to members of the budget staff who can help answer questions you may have about the state budget.
One of the most useful reporter’s reference tools regarding the budget is maintained by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, whose website features an overview of State Agency Major Request Items.
The Legislative Audit Bureau website has links to all sorts of financial reports, evaluations, and audits done at the request of the legislature or state agencies, which can help you understand how the state’s tax revenues are being spent.