A commission created by Governor Scott Walker for the purpose of cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in state and local government, identifies a savings of $456 million in taxpayer money. However, Milwaukee Senator Chris Larson, one of two Democrats on that panel, disputes some of the claims, calling them “misleading.” He says, “It was never voted on by any commission members; it was something that was produced by one or two people in the governor’s office; and it really discredits any efforts that happened before; and further than that it tries to take credit for some of the actions that had already been in place; it tries to take credit for things that still haven’t happened at the federal level; and it’s unfortunately not bipartisan.”
The official 147-page report spells out 18 major areas for potential cost savings, including $177 million in waste and abuse in public assistance programs, $50 million in unnecessary state spending, and $45 million in shared services.
Madison Representative Mark Pocan, also on the panel, says much of the savings are “about as real as the Loch Ness Monster.” He and Larson put out their own report, claiming the state can save at least $685 million each biennium on things like higher taxes on corporations, ending the voter photo ID law, using in-house contractors, and to stop outsourcing the state’s legal representation.
Larson says nobody listened. “We tried to bring up several ideas to the commission; there was always a promise that they were going to be brought up and vetted like other ideas, but that didn’t happen.”
Governor spokesman Cullen Werwie says the “alternative” report would be more accurately named “The Report that Proves Democrats Refuse to Work with Governor Walker.” Werwie says it contains items that were never brought up to the commission.
One of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign promises was to find $300 million each year in state fraud, abuse, and waste.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:05