The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has signed off on several of Governor Walker’s proposed cuts to the Department of Corrections, which include ending a controversial early release program for inmates and closing two juvenile facilities in southeastern Wisconsin.
Democrats warned against building in a funding shortfall to the budget. State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) says a plan to cut funding for state prisons is based on “funny math” and it will only result in the DOC coming back to ask for more money later on.
Republican co-chair Robin Vos (R-Rochester) maintained that the cost savings will come from other areas, after the changes included in the Governor’s collective bargaining law take effect and the Department can trim some of its salary costs. Vos says the GOP is putting “its money where its mouth is” because Act 10 will allow money to be spent on other priorities.
Implementation of the collective bargaining law has been blocked by a court challenge, but Republicans could add the provisions to the state budget before lawmakers vote on it later this month.