Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hey kids! Look what Santa Budget brought! Recycling bins!

It's a small item. But then, so many items are. Then we wonder where did all that money go?

The town of Wrightstown is getting $46,000 in brand new recycling bins. The only explanation anyone has for this budget item involves elves and reindeer. From a press release from state representatives Rich Zipperer and Leah Vukmir:

Madison - Today Representative Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) and
Representative Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) blasted a provision added to the state budget by the Democrat-controlled Joint Committee on Finance earlier this week. The provision provided $46,000 for new recycling bins in the town of Wrightstown at a time when Legislators are trying to solve Governor Doyle's $6.6 billion state deficit. The $46,000 represents a 735% increase over what the town received for recycling aid in the last budget.

"This provision is preposterous," said Vukmir. "This is exactly the kind of nickel-and-diming that has put Wisconsin in such a mess over the years. Wasteful earmarks for things like recycling bins for only one town should not be a priority of the state, but to the Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee, it apparently is."

According to a recent news article in the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Wrightstown Clerk didn't know about the spending provision, and the Democrat co-chairs of the Finance Committee claimed that they didn't know who brought the provision forward. Wrightstown's representative in the Assembly, Democrat Ted Zigmunt, did not return a press call seeking answers.

"The fact that the Democrat co-chairs of the Finance Committee, who control every motion and vote brought forward to the committee, can claim they don't know how the provision was included is ridiculous," said Zipperer. "Taxpayers deserve transparency in the state budget, and they deserve to know who thought recycling bins in Wrightstown are important enough to have priority at a time when we are trying to fix Governor Doyle's $6.6 billion state deficit."

Zipperer and Vukmir are the authors of the Earmark Transparency Act, which is before the Joint Committee on Finance but has not yet been given a public hearing. The Earmark Transparency Act would require complete disclosure of the state budget, including disclosing who brought motions and earmarks forward during the Finance Committee proceedings.

"This is just one example of multiple spending provisions that should not be in the state budget. Once the budget reaches the full Assembly, we will watch out for the taxpayers and work to remove these wasteful earmarks," Zipperer concluded.