Local child support agencies could see a reduction in state funding under language adopted by the legislature’s budget panel. And that drew criticism from Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee. State funding for child support agencies “a no brainer,” said Representative Tamara Grigsby of Milwaukee. Grigsby said the decision was heartless. “It is about a choice. It’s absolutely a choice,” she said. “Just to simply say that this is about not setting children and families as a priority I think is ridiculous,” argued Representative John Nygren, a Marinette Republican.
The motion approved allocates $4.5 million in state money annually – what the agencies previously received for a six month period. “I understand why the minority is going to impose any reduction in spending in most of these areas,” said JFC co-chair, Representative Robin Vos. “We have to make choices, and we’re directing that reform happen.” That reform would require the Department of Children and Families to determine the efficiency and performance of each county’s child support agency, and develop a plan to allocate the state money to each agency.
Democrat state Senator Bob Jauch said agencies in his northern Wisconsin district will receive about $500,000 less. “This one was a no-brainer to men,” said Jauch. “I would have thought if there was any chance this Republican controlled legislature would have showed it had a heart and a conscience, it would be on this issue. It’s not a good start for the children of this state.”