One Democrat says taxpayers should not have to pony up to help protect the governor when he speaks to national conservatives.
During the Department of Transportation budget briefing before the Joint Finance Committee, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) posed that question to Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
“Do you think taxpayers should be footing the bill or should the governor’s 501(c)3 be footing the bill for anything political.” Gottlieb responded, “The governor is the governor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” Gottlieb said that level of security is no different from what previous governors enjoyed.
Governor Scott Walker is a likely presidential candidate, and Erpenbach wanted to know what percentage of the Dignitary Protection Unit’s $1.75 million budget is spent on Walker’s out-of-state trips.
Erpenbach also grilled the secretary on the $4 an hour raise for that security detail. Gottlieb defended the raise. “That $4 an hour I think does represent a recognition by us that this is a very unique duty assignment. It involves a lot of travel; it involves a lot of hours being worked.” Gottlieb said many of those hours were uncompensated. And, he said, that increase also included the elimination of overtime pay.
AUDIO: Erpenbach says taxpayers should not have to foot the bill when the governor speaks to national conservatives. :24
Outgoing Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch had told Erpenbach earlier this week that Walker’s campaign talks constantly with state officials about appropriate ways to share the governor’s security costs.