Divided control of state government has led to budget delays

Weekly Fiscal Facts are provided by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. The Wisconsin Policy Forum logo can be downloaded here.


Since 1977, three of the four latest dates for enactment of Wisconsin’s state budget came during periods of divided government in which either the Legislature and governor’s office were held by different parties or the two houses of the Legislature were controlled by different parties.

In the 2017-19 budget, though, both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office were held by Republicans. The delay occurred largely because lawmakers and the governor were unable to agree on transportation funding — an issue likely to resurface in this year’s budget deliberations.

Ultimately, previous legislatures and governors have found a way out of impasses and even the most committed partisans have been able to accommodate one another. It remains to be seen whether the current legislative session — in which control is split between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature — follows the same pattern or breaks new ground. 

This information is a service of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. Learn more at wispolicyforum.org.