Wisconsin State Capitol

State agencies plan to save millions by lapsing money that otherwise would’ve gone to cover the costs of student assessments and services for drunken drivers, among other things, according to a DOA summary.

DOA late Wednesday released an overview of the nearly $70 million state agencies will be required to lapse to the general fund to help boost the state’s bottom line amid falling revenues. But that summary didn’t include details of where agencies cut the money.

A summary the agency released to WisPolitics.com Thursday added more details on the cuts. For many agencies, the reductions were simply listed as a cut to general program operations.

For example, the UW System will account for $40.8 million of the cut. In the DOA summary, $39.5 million of that was attributed to general program operations with another $1.3 million from a category labeled electric energy (renewable).

A System spokesman said those categories covered: hiring controls, furloughs and layoffs for staff; travel and utility savings; renegotiated contracts; and other measures.

Some of the other planned cuts include:

*Public Instruction’s entire $2.7 million lapse is from a GPR appropriation for pupil assessments that weren’t administered this spring.

*Children and Families is lapsing just over $1.9 million. All but $40,000 of that is from an appropriation for Milwaukee child welfare services. An agency spokesman said the GPR reduction won’t impact services because DCF was able to replace the state money with federal funds.

*Corrections is lapsing nearly $2.4 million. Of that, $1.7 million is from an appropriation for drunken driving offenders. The agency didn’t immediately respond to requests for details on the appropriation.

*Justice is lapsing $965,200. That includes $361,055 for law enforcement drug trafficking response grants and $543,577 from a fund covering awards for crime victims. An agency spokeswoman said the law enforcement grants hadn’t been used and were returned to DOJ, while the agency had enough money in the crime victim fund to cover the lapse without impacting services.

*Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney told “UpFront” the agency had put on hold advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency is lapsing $714,000 overall with $552,400 from money earmarked for marketing.

Altogether, 18 agencies were impacted by the lapses while 25 weren’t.

Under guidelines DOA sent to agencies last month, smaller agencies and those with limited GPR funding were exempt from the cuts. That included the secretary of state and treasurer’s offices, neither of which has a GPR appropriation.

The office of JFC Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said it hadn’t seen the DOA breakdown early this afternoon.

Meanwhile, JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, questioned the Evers’ administration’s priorities when the guv’s “political buddies” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Secretary of State Doug La Follette were exempt from the cuts.

The lieutenant guv’s office has a biennial GPR budget of $847,800 with five full-time equivalent positions.

Nygren called Barnes a “clear winner” in the cuts and noted Evers had also previously vetoed a GOP proposal to limit security costs for the lieutenant governor.

“The taxpayers of Wisconsin deserve better,” Nygren said.

See the agency-by-agency breakdown:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/200528Savings.pdf

See Nygren’s statement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2020/rep-nygren-governor-evers-budget-cuts-raises-more-questions/

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