County urges state to listen to voters
The St. Croix County Board is calling on the governor and the state Legislature to heed referendums held throughout the state last spring in which over 85 percent of those whose who voted favored full state funding for human services and courts.
Even though citizens voted overwhelmingly that the state pay for those mandated programs, there seems to be no intention in Madison to respond to the voters, said Supervisor Ralph Swenson, who chairs the county's Finance Committee.
The resolution adopted last week says, in part, "(T)he property taxpayers of this state have told our state elected officials that they want the cost of the courts and human services off the property tax and deserve an answer on how the state plans to heed their wishes."
According to the resolution, 20 years ago state government began "what was supposed to be" a phased-in takeover of local court costs, but today over $80 million of that cost remains on the local property tax.
Also counties are putting up $270 million more in property tax dollars to support Community Aids services than they were 18 years ago, while the state is providing $28 million less.
The resolution refers to the Kettl Commission report which said the state should move as soon as possible to full state funding for court and human services programs.
In action of a similar nature, the board went on record as opposing cuts in state funding for recycling programs.
In 1989 Wisconsin set up a fund to reimburse municipalities for about 66 percent of the statewide cost of recycling services, but the funding has been frozen since 1999.
The state budget proposed by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee would transfer nearly $30 million from the recycling fund to the state's general fund and would reduce reimbursement statewide to 28 percent of local recycling costs, according to county officials.
The County Board voted to endorse restoring the money to the recycling fund.