MADISON (AP) - The Wisconsin Legislature's Finance Committee inserted Thursday language into the state budget that creates a $10,000 endowment fund for the state's CSpan-style network of public affairs.
The Joint Finance Committee unanimously voted to put the money into a fund for
The nonprofit broadcasts coverage from gavel to gavel of legislative sessions, hearings and news conferences in Madison.
The network started broadcasting in 2007. The network relies heavily upon private fundraising, and the revenue generated from a paywall protecting archived footage. According to the network's site, it employs 7 people full-time and has a budget of about $1.2M per year. In the last budget, the finance committee allocated $450,000 to the network. This was the first time that the network had asked for taxpayer support.
The budget for 2023-25 was amended by the committee on Thursday to include a provision that would place $10 million in a WisconsinEye fund. The fund would require the network to match each dollar requested by it. The endowment will dissolve on 30 June 2025. The network would also have to remove its archive paywall.
Brandon Scholz, member of the board for the network, stated in a phone interview that this fund does not equate to free cash due to the match requirement. Scholz says that the fund's existence can help to motivate donors, as their contributions unlock more money from state.
It is expected that the finance committee will spend several weeks reviewing the budget, before submitting it to the Assembly and Senate to be approved. The budget will then be sent to the governor. Tony Evers can use his partial-veto power to rewrite this document.