Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Walker establishes committee to reduce government spending

Members met for the first time Thursday
Marissa Haegele

In an executive order, Gov. Scott Walker formed a commission Wednesday to cut unnecessary spending and improve taxpayer funded services in the state.

Twelve state leaders from both the private sector and elected office make up the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform, Efficiency and Performance, according to a statement from Walker. The commission met for the first time Thursday.

According to Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance President Todd Berry, the commission is similar to one Walker created to cut spending when he came into office in 2011.


In the statement, Walker outlined the purpose of the commission.

“Government programs and services should be continually reviewed and adjusted in order to make sure they are meeting the needs of the people and to maximize their performance,” Walker said in the statement. “The Commission on Government Reform, Efficiency, and Performance will focus on evaluating innovative solutions to ensure government continues to perform well and at a good value.”

Commission member Bob Ziegelbauer, Manitowoc County county executive, said the commission’s goal is to pass on useful recommendations that the state Legislature and Walker can use to trim spending.

It will take a full year for the commission to form its recommendations, Ziegelbauer said.

Within the next year, commission members plan to closely examine the state budget to see where government spending can be cut due to waste and inefficiencies.

Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, described how the commission will look for ways to cut spending.

“The overall charge of the commission is to find some reform and efficiencies in government performance,” Ringhand said.

Ringhand’s focus is consolidation of current programs. She wants to look at ways to reduce services that state agencies don’t necessarily need to have, she said.

Due to inefficiencies he has seen while working as a county executive, Ziegelbauer said he wants to focus on more cost-effective ways of compensating state employees.

“I have an interest in salaries and benefits because that’s what I wrestle with all the time at the county level and the state level,” Ziegelbauer said.

But despite the commission’s purpose of cutting spending, Berry said he was concerned the commission is taking the wrong approach by specifically examining agency operation waste and inefficiencies.

He said does not see cutting agency inefficiencies as the most effective way to reduce spending.

“Looking at the performance of state agencies — putting aside the university, putting aside corrections, you’re looking at something like 7 or 8 percent of the state budget,” Berry said. “There are bigger fish in the pond.”

Berry said the majority of the budget is actually going elsewhere and should be more closely examined. He said the most recent state budget has seen a $1 billion growth since the last budget, and two-thirds of that money goes to Medicaid.

According to Walker’s executive order establishing the commission, the commission will present their recommendations before the introduction of the 2017-19 biennial budget.

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