Bob Haase Another Can Of Worms Things You Should Know About The State Budget

The Budget Bill – Things You Should Know

When you think of the state budget bill, you probably think that the items included in it are related to the state budget or have financial implications.  While most of the items are budget related and can have budget implications,  many of them are not and have no financial implications at all.   

Many people may not be concerned with this, thinking it is not that important, but it really is.  The problem is that the legislators we have elected to represent us are using this process to slip things through for themselves and special interest groups that have contributed to their campaign.  They know that these proposals would not stand much of a chance of getting approved if they were run through the normal channels where they would be discussed and debated. The other problem is that it takes away from the time they should be spending on the budget itself. There are so many things like this that are included in the budget bill that most of our representatives don’t even know what they are voting on. 

Included in Governor Walkers proposed budget is a proposal to strip the powers of the Natural Resources Board and make them advisory only.  The power to regulate all environmental issues would rest with the Governor’s office.  You might think this would be great but it would be like the fox guarding the chicken coup. Decisions affecting environmental issues of clean water and clean air would become political decisions and not based on science and best practice to protect the people of Wisconsin.  When people and corporations make campaign contributions to candidates they expect something in return and decisions are often based on this rather than being the right or wrong thing to do for the people of Wisconsin.

This budget would also cut 66 agency positions in the DNR and halt any land purchases for conservation until 2028.  Again you might think this is good and would save you tax dollars.  What most people don’t realize is that over 90 percent of the cost of running the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources comes from license fees, permit fees, and Federal Grants.  Less than ten percent of the overall cost of running the WDNR comes from your tax dollars.  Most of the Federal Grants comes from taxes on hunting and fishing items.  The sportsmen and women pay for running and maintaining things that all people use even if they don’t hunt or fish such as the Horicon Wildlife Refuge,  Eldorado Marsh, Necedah Wildlife Refuge, and many more.   

How many other things are buried in the proposed budget?  How will this affect you? Also remember that many of these changes are not limited to the two year budget but will last a long time such as the restriction on purchasing parks, recreational, and conservation properties until 2028.

Would you rather have decision on environment issues be science based or politically based?  Many people are upset with the blue-green algae in Lake Winnebago caused by phosphorus and our governor has already allowed higher limits on the use of phosphorus.  A clean environment and people’s health are more important than political power and paybacks to contributors.

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.