Woe to the citizen who is not a practiced public speaker coming before the Joint Committee on Finance in one of the four hearings on the state budget. The two-minute limit awaits you, and comes faster than you can ever imagine.
Introducing yourself takes 10 to 15 seconds, depending on your affiliation. That is one-eighth of your time. Identifying your subject is another 10 seconds, and if you tell a joke, you’ve spent more of that time.
When they don’t have simple statements to make, people who approach Joint Finance want to tell a personal story, about the impact of a specific program on an individual, or something nuanced, about how a program works. Unfortunately, you cannot tell much of a story in two minutes, and even less about a complex program.
There’s little room for passion in front of Joint Finance, and virtually no place for nuance. The timer goes off, you may be interrupted in the middle of a sentence, and your testimony is over.
After today, the remaining Joint Committee on Finance hearings are at University of Wisconsin-Barron County Fine Arts Theatre in Rice Lake, on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and at Reedsburg High School CAL Center Auditorium, Reedsburg, on Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. Written comments can be emailed to the Committee at BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov, or sent via U.S. mail to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702. It is unclear whether those comments must be submitted by the end of testimony on Thursday, March 26.