With implementation only about three months away, Democrats in the state legislature were raising concerns about a major state computer project on Wednesday, while a Republican leader said they have had weeks to have those concerns addressed. The State Transforming Agency Resources – or STAR Project – will consolidate IT systems and equipment, at a total cost of some $138 million.
Democrats on the state budget panel balked at covering a $16.5 million overdraft for STAR. “I understand that we have an implementation timeline that is coming up, and I just don’t feel like we have the answers about how this all going to come together,” said Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh).
“There’s a lot of questions with this. We all know that,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach. “When we’ve had some folks in our office before, nobody can truly answer some questions on this, because I don’t think anybody really knows.”
But Joint Finance Committee co-chair, Representative John Nygren, said Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch released a memo on the project back in late December. “That allowed almost three months for you to get any questions you might have answered,” Nygren said.
According to the state’s STAR Project website, Wisconsin government currently operates more than 120 different administrative systems, which handle a variety of functions across numerous state agencies. Most systems are unable to communicate with each other and rely on technologies that are in come cases decades old. The state’s budget system, for example, was implemented in the 1960s.
A spokesman for the Walker administration told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that STAR remains on time and on budget.