For Immediate Release: August 24, 2016
Contact: Senator Janis Ringhand, (608) 266-2253
Walker Administration planning to raid $18.6 million from veteran nursing homes
Memo shows Veteran Trust Fund faces $43.1 million deficit by 2020
MADISON, WI – Facing a massive funding deficit over the next three years, Gov. Walker’s Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) is planning to raid $18.6 million from veteran nursing homes according to a new Fiscal Bureau memo. This would be the largest funding raid on the state’s veteran homes in Wisconsin’s history.
“Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to keep us safe and they deserve the best possible care,” said Senator Ringhand. “Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans should stop raiding money from our veteran nursing homes. Rather than trying to profit off veterans in nursing homes, we should be investing in veteran care and expanding access to health services.”
The planned transfer of $18.6 million from veteran homes to backfill a growing deficit in the Veterans Trust Fund is the latest DVA mismanagement issue that is concerning to Wisconsin veterans and advocates. According to recent reports, the DVA spent nearly twice as much on administrative costs than it did on grants and programs for veterans. The Department has also come under fire for its efforts to consolidate County Veteran Service Offices and block funding for local veteran services.
“Based on numerous reports, it’s clear that there are serious management and financial challenges that need to be addressed in Gov. Walker’s administration,” added Ringhand. “Care for our veterans should be a top priority. We need to get to the bottom of these problems, work together to improve services, and prevent future deficits.”
Democrats attempted to improve legislative oversight and restrict DVA’s authority to raid veteran home funds in the 2015-17 budget, but the motion was rejected by Republican leaders on a party-line vote.