NOTE: See revised subhead.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 9, 2016
Contact: Rep. Peter Barca, Laura Smith, 608.266.5504
Rep. Katrina Shankland, 608.267.9649
Wisconsin Republicans Consolidate Power, Erode Local Control
Republicans Add to List of 100+ Measures that Harm Local Decision-Making; Sacrificing Clean Water In Favor of Serving Right-Wing Special Interests
MADISON – Today Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and Assistant Democratic Leader Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) derided the actions of Republican legislators, who have greatly expanded the reach of state government at the expense of local governments since coming into power in 2011. Reps. Barca and Shankland today released a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that details the more than 100 ways that legislative Republicans have eliminated local control and increased the number of unfunded mandates passed on to local communities.
“Since taking power, Republicans have passed more than 100 changes to state law that take away authority from local governments and today we will consider roughly a dozen more!” Rep. Barca said. “Today Republicans will once again sell out our clean lakes, wetlands and sporting heritage to appeal to right-wing special interests. Their actions today continue a legacy of Republican-sponsored damage to our public schools, clean lakes and vital services.”
According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, since taking power in 2011 Republican legislators have pushed more than 100 changes to state law that are considered unfunded mandates or would restrict the authority of local units of government. Republican legislators continue to propose even more bills that would tie the hands of local governments.
The Republicans’ actions make it even harder for local elected leaders to balance their budgets and continue to provide high-quality services for their communities. This session, Republican changes included: disrupting Wisconsin’s highly successful system of delivering services to seniors and those with disabilities, usurping local decisions on shoreland zoning, and interfering with local school board elections.
“Republicans say they are the ‘Party of Local Control’ but their actions show the opposite,” Rep. Shankland said. “As we reach the last few weeks of this legislative session, Republicans may try to pass even more damaging policies to usurp local control and give away our precious state to right-wing special interests. From interfering with the process for holding school referendums to overriding local fire departments on Christmas tree safety, power-hungry Republicans just can’t seem to get enough. What they forget is they are taking away the voices of their constituents who dutifully elect their town boards, county boards and school boards.”
Assembly Democrats will continue to stand up for local control and fight for our citizens’ voices and their right to have locally elected officials to make the decisions that affect their home community.
A copy of the LFB memo is available here