December, 14th 2010

 

Finance Committee Approves Funding for Vital Programs

Taylor applauds Milwaukee child support enforcement dollars, funding for public defenders

(Madison) – Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) cast her vote today, along with her Democratic colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee to fund the crucial programs that are required and needed in Wisconsin.  This included additional funding for the state public defender program, increasing child support enforcement funding, promoting energy efficiency, cutting the Medicare deficit and improving the Youngstar program. 

“Today’s actions by the committee protect vital state programs while, at the same time, promote fiscal responsibility,” Taylor commented.  The committee provided $4.25 million in child support enforcement funding, of which over $2 million will go to Milwaukee County.  When matched with federal dollars, the total should amount to over $7 million.  The committee also ordered they release the funds to the county by the end of the year.  “I’m pleased that this funding has gone to Milwaukee County, who had anticipated it in their recent budget.   Increasing funding for child support enforcement can dramatically improve the lives of the children that need it most,” Taylor said.      

The committee also approved $5.4 million in funding for the state public defender program.  “By including this funding for the private bar deficit we ensured that people’s constitutional right is upheld”.  Taylor noted that this funding will last only through April, and that it will be the responsibility of the next Legislature to continue to fund people’s right to legal counsel as our state Constitution requires.

In addition to these actions, the committee also voted to:

  • Reduce the Medicare deficit by approximately $12 million, bringing it to an estimated $70 million, halving the $148 million deficit faced at the beginning of the last budget period.  When coupled with anticipated administrative action, the deficit could be reduced even further. This is essential toward guaranteeing access to health care for those in need. 
  • Increase energy efficiency investment by $120 million in 2011 for Focus on Energy and renewable resource programs which will save taxpayers and businesses money and support job creation.
  • Improve the Youngstar program by creating more stringent standards for teachers and child care providers in addition to implementing a five-year sustainability plan.   

“The votes today by the Joint Finance Committee show a commitment to responsible, accountable government.  I encourage Republican leaders and the incoming Legislature to continue to work hard for the people of Wisconsin and for fiscal responsibility.”