Transportation Spending: It’s time for a comprehensive audit

“Senate leader on budget deal: ‘I don’t know where we are at’” was the headline of a recent Associated Press story on the budget deal. The story went on to report there’s “no agreement yet on how to pay for transportation projects…”

While the Senate leader gathered up votes, I gathered up a few studies to understand if all this borrowing was necessary.

Here’s what I found:
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Kicking Controls Out the Window

“Suspend current law…requiring the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct an annual financial audit of the UW System. Instead, require the UW System to contract with an independent accounting firm,” read the motion introduced by Senator Harsdorf and Representative Schraa.

Recent action by a majority of the state’s budget writing committee not only kicked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) out of the UW System but also approved a process to get rid of state purchasing laws at the UW and waive the state’s bidding process for some UW building projects.

The motion effectively throws Wisconsin taxpayer controls out the window for a significant portion of the state budget. The UW System 2-year budget is over $11 billion – about a 7th of the entire state budget.
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“I’m Counting on You”

“I’m counting on you,” Tracy from Mondovi wrote me.

“The architects of the Joint Finance Committee’s education budget package wrongly assumes that anyone can teach by allowing those with minimal qualifications and little more than a high school diploma to educate our children.  Their action will degrade the quality of teaching in Wisconsin and represents a race to the bottom.”

Tracy was one of many constituents who recently contacted me about a big change in the state’s teaching standards.
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I Agree Governor! Let's Make Public Schools "Whole"

“Our number one priority gotta to be make (sic) sure that we make K-12 schools, public education in the state, a priority to make sure they’re held whole,” said Governor Walker on April 23rd, as quoted by Wisconsin Radio Network.

I agree, Governor! Let’s make public schools “whole.”

In a recent late night session, the state’s budget writing committee took up public school funding. Many advocates expected a turnaround in the governor’s proposed funding for local schools. Instead folks got a big surprise: lots of changes asked for by private school lobbyists. Not so for public schools.
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