June 22, 2011 
 
 
 
Sen. Larson Urges Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos to Stand with Taxpayers, Not Special Interests
 
 
Madison – Today Sen. Chris Larson (D–Milwaukee) called on Joint Finance Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Robin Vos to stand with Milwaukee’s taxpayers by urging the governor to line-item veto an unfunded mandate they inserted into the budget.
 
“Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos have been given a second chance to uphold the promises they made to Wisconsin residents,” said Sen. Larson. “I implore the Joint Finance Co-Chairs to take advantage of this opportunity to do the right thing for our community.”
 
For many years, Wisconsin State law mandated that City of Milwaukee taxpayers continue to pay the salary and benefits of Milwaukee police officers who were fired with cause until all of their appeals were exhausted. This unfair mandate applied only to Milwaukee and cost taxpayers over $4.5 million. In 2008, the Legislature voted 95-0 in the Assembly and 30-3 in the Senate to repeal the mandate by passing 2007 WI Act 114. This legislative change has saved Milwaukee taxpayers about $300,000 over the past two years.
 
Late in the budget process, Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos introduced a motion in the middle of the night to once again stick the taxpayers of Milwaukee with the bill by requiring them to cover the salary and benefits of Milwaukee police officers who have been fired with cause.
 
“The recent action of the Joint Finance Co-Chairs defies logic,” said Sen. Larson. “Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos stood with the majority of their colleagues when they voted to remove this unfair mandate in 2008, but are now authoring a proposal to once again require Milwaukee taxpayers to pick up the tab for officers that have been fired with just cause, such as violating our laws.”
 
“I encourage Sen. Darling and Rep. Vos to join the majority of taxpayers and avoid the appearance of standing with marginal special interests by denouncing this proposal,” said Sen. Larson. “The co-chairs should request that the governor line-item veto this mandate in the budget so that the issue can at the very least be discussed independently at a different date with input from the people of Wisconsin.”