Bill Requires Full Legislative Action to Implement the Sequester in Wisconsin

(MADISON)  Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) today introduced a bill that will require the enactment of legislation to implement the federal sequester in Wisconsin.  On March 1, the Budget Control Act of 2011, commonly known as the “sequester”, will reduce the flow of federal funds to Wisconsin.  Senator Taylor’s bill will require legislative action to authorize any cuts made on the state level as a result of the reduced federal funds. 

“Despite political differences, we should agree that cuts as large as those that we will face need to have full public involvement.  Rather than allow the executive branch to make unilateral changes, the Legislature must hold hearings and enact a bill to change the appropriations.  From cuts to school funds to reductions in law enforcement grants to loss of funds for domestic violence prevention programs, these cuts will affect us all, and the Legislature must be involved.”  Senator Taylor commented.

Taylor’s bill (LRB 1775) will require the Governor to introduce a bill to implement the reductions from sequestration to the Joint Committee on Finance.  That bill would go through the legislative process which includes public hearings and a vote by both houses.  Senator Taylor’s bill requires this for any direct cut of federal funds but also for any shift of funds that the Governor proposes to backfill the loss of federal funds.

“Citizens of Wisconsin send tax dollars to Washington.  Because of sequestration, they will get less of their money back from Washington.  Wisconsin deserves to have a voice in how we will cut programs because of sequestration.  We should not deny them that process, especially since the regular state budget bill may be enacted before sequestration is fully implemented.”  Taylor concluded.

Legislators will review the bill and add their names as cosponsors throughout the next week.  Taylor is hopeful for bipartisan support for the bill.  A copy of the bill is attached.