Action Needed Now for King Residents
Erpenbach: Fund $18 million projects from 2015 Capital Budget and Enact Legislative Oversight Now
Madison – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) called for immediate action for residents at the Veterans Home at King as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee prepares to meet tomorrow in Madison to consider an audit of the facility.
“I appreciate that the Audit Committee will consider an audit of the resident care for our veterans and finances at King, but there is more we can do as a Legislature to react to what we have heard. We can hold an Extraordinary Session and fund the $18.5 million in projects identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the last budget as necessary improvements at King and finance any other shovel ready improvements. We can also reinstate Legislative oversight of any fund raids from the care of veterans to stop another potential raid,” said Erpenbach, a member of the Joint Committee on Finance, the state’s budget committee.
“Just because Legislative Republicans voted against Legislative oversight last summer does not mean we should not try again to give some accountability for the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin and more importantly the veterans these facilities serve. Our veterans were willing to pay the ultimate price for their country and our state can meet for one day to improve their care right now,” Erpenbach continued.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee will meet on September 21st in the Wisconsin State Capitol to discuss a potential audit of the Veterans Home at King. The scope and depth of that potential audit will also be a part of the discussion. If an audit is recommended by the committee it could be as long at 6-9 months until any reports are seen from the audit.
“We know, at least in part, what the problems are at King including veteran care and facilities in need of repair. We can react to what we know is a problem today and still move ahead with an audit. We know there were at least $18 million in improvements that were shovel ready in the last budget, let’s get those done now I am sure there will be other projects just around the corner,” Erpenbach said.
Erpenbach moved last summer in the budget debate in the Joint Committee on Finance for full funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget with general purpose revenue which would have eliminated the need for any transfers from the Nursing Home Fund into the Veteran Fund. The motion also required Legislative approval of any transfers made out of the care for veterans in our homes into the agency budget. The motion failed in the JCF on party line.