State Treasurer Disagrees With Gov. Walker Proposal To Gut The Constitutional Office
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (03/03/2011) - The State Treasurer of Wisconsin says he wants to be party to eliminating the office he holds, but, he thinks people should be able to determine if that constitutional office is eliminated, not to gut it through the budget process. He says Gov. Scott Walker wants to move two key areas of responsibility to the Office of Administration.
State Treasurer Kurt Schuller believes, since Treasurer is a constitutional office, it should be eliminated through the constitutional process, which requires a mandatory vote up or down by the people of Wisconsin, not through the whim of a governor.
State Treasurer Kurt Schuller says he will continue his campaign promise to eliminate the Office of State Treasurer but says the proposed budget cuts to the office are not the way to do it.
"Itís all or nothing", said Treasurer Schuller. "I want the people of Wisconsin to vote on changing the State Constitution and eliminate this office. The proposed 2011-2013 budget takes that right away from the voters by taking two of our programs and transferring them to the Department of Administration."
The State Treasurerís Office administers Unclaimed Property, the Stateís College Savings Program or EdVest and the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP). The proposed budget would move Edvest and LGIP to the Department of Administration.
"Gutting the office is not what I committed to when I campaigned to change the constitution," said Treasurer Schuller. "I am currently working with legislators to draft a bill to eliminate this office and I want that process to move forward. There are other ways we can save money and make this office more eff icient in the next biennium."
Eliminating the State Treasurerís Office requires approval by both the Assembly and the Senate in two consecutive sessions. The change to the State Constitution would then go before voters on a statewide ballot.
"Thatís what I want Ė the voters to decide," said Treasurer Schuller. "This is what democracy is all about."
"Let me underscore my absolute support of the constitutional amendment to eliminate the Office of State Treasurer and Secretary of State. In fact, I have been working with the Legislative Reference Bureau and am drafting the bill. Representative Scott Krug has agreed to sponsor it," said State Treasurer Schuller.
"My philosophical problem with the Governorís budget plans to strip the office down to one single duty, Unclaimed Property, in the process," State Treasurer Schuller said.
"I have a principled belief that the Assembly, Senate and Wisconsin voters should have the right to vote 'yes' or 'no' based upon the office as it stood on January 3rd when I was sworn-in and took the oath. Stripping the office before the Legislature and voters get their chance to weigh-in stacks the deck and most likely assures the billís passage," Schuller said.
"My problem with this is the choice of the voters is being taken away from them," State Treasurer Schuller explained.
"One of the reasons I ran for office in the first place was out of a growing frustration with a government that seemed to ignore the concerns of the voters. I believe this is what drove the Republican Party to such a sweeping victory in November," Schuller continued.
"I have been outspoken in my support of Governor Walker and his courageous and bold moves to put our stateís house into order," Schuller said. However, he disagrees with what Governor Walker is attempting to do in this instance.
"I do not want to win this issue of eliminating the office by moves designed to predetermine the outcome. I have a strong belief in an open and transparent policy debate, and in letting the people of Wisconsin speak on Election Day. I do not want to win this fight by tying the hands of those who might be opposed to closing the office," Wisconsin State Treasurer Schuller pointed out.
"My pledge to serve only one term should assure you that I believe that we will win on this point, without any action that would make the passage of this bill, for all intents and purposes, inevitable", State Treasurer Kurt Schuller said.
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