Vote No: Save Wisconsin’s Fiscal Watchdog & Protect Our Environment
State Treasurer Ballot Initiative
On April 3rd, Wisconsin voters will be presented with a ballot initiative to remove the Office of State Treasurer from our Constitution. This initiative has quietly passed through two sessions of the state legislature and is in its final phase. As the financial expert, the Treasurer aids in the oversight on the Board of Commissioners Public Lands (BCPL) that oversees the School Trust Lands, State Trust Fund Loan Program, and four school trust funds. If this amendment passes, the duties of the Treasurer would be consolidated and assigned to the governor and lieutenant governor.
Why does this matter to local government? BCPL owns 80,000 acres, with a high percentage of unique ecological features that include class one trout streams and old growth forests. Should this amendment pass in April, the Offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor would have influence and new control over all School Trust Lands.
This would remove critical checks and balances that have played an important role in managing Wisconsin’s school trust assets since 1848. This effective management has further improved the overall timber base by 20%, providing more revenue to public schools through the School Trust Lands, while preserving rare and unique ecosystems.
Under this structure, we’ve seen achievements such as:
- Access to Public Lands: Increased public access by 28% in less than a decade
- Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans: 15-year plans that contain information on timber management, including water features, wetlands, rare species, harvests, and planting scheduling
- Forest Regeneration: Planted more than 129,000 trees in a four-year span to ensure sustainable forestry
- Forest Inventory: Collects data on tree species, composition, timber volumes, tree regeneration, and herbaceous ground-layer plants
- Forest Stewardship Council Management Certification: Implements FSC guidelines with forest management
Efforts from the legislature to sell off these unique lands has been prevented because of the BCPL efforts.
This concerted effort to consolidate power would be disastrous for Wisconsin. We need to keep the State Treasurer and reinstate its functions – overseeing financial operations, evaluating risk, and advocating on the behalf of the taxpayer. This is imperative for receiving and maintaining:
- State Trust Fund Loan Program provides billions of dollars of funding for municipalities, that has impacted all 72 counties, to include refinancing $102,000,000 in critical pension liabilities
- Funding of over $32 million for public school libraries (in 2017)
- $23 Billion in federal funds – almost 30% of our state budget
Every state in the U.S. has a Treasurer or an equivalent office.
Vote No: Save Wisconsin’s Fiscal Watchdog: We have an opportunity to defeat this amendment on April 3, 2018 — through the Vote No Initiative. With general awareness of this so low, please help spread the word!