May 21, 2013
Will Joint Finance Republicans Support No-Bid Sale of State Power Plants, UW Dorms and State Highways?
Senate Democratic Leader Calls for Removal of Provision Allowing the Sale of State Property
MADISON – Today, members of the Joint Finance Committee will address provisions in Governor Walker’s budget including the ability of the Department of Administration, with marginal Building Commission oversight, to sell or lease our state property. The definition of state property is broad, encompassing UW dorms, state power plants and even state prisons.
Changing sale of state property procedure has been taken out of previous omnibus legislation. Considered too divisive, this provision was removed from Act 10 in 2011. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau noted in their research that Department of Administration staff indicated Secretary Huebsch has no plans to use this new authority to sell state-owned properties that provide a public service like a campus dormitory, state highway, or state prison to a private entity. But if they did not have plans to sell state-owned properties, then the question remains, why would the governor’s Department of Administration need broader authority to sell or lease state assets?
Furthermore, the lack of a public bidding requirement is a clear sign this provision’s central purpose is not to truly pay down the state’s debts.
Today, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson said, “It’s amazing that this divisive provision again made it into the governor’s budget, but clearly selling the state’s assets with limited oversight remains a top priority for this governor. From Camp Randall to I-94 to Waupun Correctional Institution, state property is on the auction block with minimal legislative oversight.
“If Camp Randall is not for sale, let’s not change the laws to allow for the sale of Camp Randall. Our precious state assets are not fodder for Craigslist.
“In light of this information, I call on Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee to join members of the Wisconsin business community and Democratic members of JFC to stop the fire sale of state property before it reaches the floor.”