September 8, 2017

Volume 3 Issue 19


State Representative Janel Brandtjen

Final Budget Leaves Too Much Behind

Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. Governor Walker's reforms are working, the economy is on the rebound, and the unemployment rate is as low as it has been in a long time. Wisconsin is moving forward, and the Governor, along with the Republican-led Legislature, deserve praise for the positive changes made over the past 10 years. However, a solid track record over the past decade doesn't excuse a budget that spends too much money, contains no cuts to unnecessary programs, and provides no remedy for the lack of oversight that has plagued billion dollar departments like the DOT and DPI.

The spending includes millions of dollars to provide laptops, buying more and more land under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program, funding the left-wing Wisconsin Public Radio propaganda machine and the circus museum. We continue to over-fund the $6 billion biannual budget of the UW System that has not, to my knowledge, adopted one cost-saving measure in the last 50 years.

The lack of oversight within Wisconsin's various service departments is troubling to say the least. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is in dire need of an independent and thorough audit. In fact, every department should be audited on a regular basis. These departments go unchecked for years and years, but then everyone seems to be shocked that there's waste and abuse.

The budget also leaves out a few things, like minimum markup. Why are we not allowing consumers to enjoy the lowest prices possible? The budget also does not include any of the proposed DOT reforms that would save millions of dollars and protect taxpayers. The most important being the federal swap bill that would save millions of dollars by avoiding expensive and unnecessary federal mandates. Of course the budget does provide $2.5 million to study toll roads.

The budget provides a extremely generous and unsustainable increase to K-12 education. $200 per student in the first year and $204 in the second. I certainly could support a reasonable per student increase to cover inflation. I guarantee the usual $150 per student in the next budget will be considered a "cut".

The budget also leaves out the Milwaukee "East-West" project connecting the Marquette interchange with the new Zoo interchange project. It is my understanding that $31 million was needed to fund the project through this budget cycle. The money could have easily been bonded. The ridiculously low interest rate right now may have been the cheapest way we have funded the project and we could have scratched a mega-project off the list.

The budget is not without a few positive items that deserve mention. The budget includes an expanded audit of Planned Parenthood. Last year an audit found that the organization over-charged the state a million dollars in just one month. The budget repeals the prevailing wage law, requires that school districts hold referendum elections in the spring or fall general elections when voter turnout is highest. The budget completely eliminates the state's portion of the property bill known as the forestry mill rate, the money will now come from general purpose revenue. Finally, the budget expands school choice by raising the income level for families who wish to send their children to an alternative school.


God Bless Wisconsin!













 State Capitol Room 221 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 Toll Free: (888) 534-0022 or (608) 267-2367