Wisconsin’s New ‘Pork Czar’
Kevin Binversie /
As states begin to line up for their portion of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama debt plan, many of them aren’t even waiting for the legislation to be passed to prepare the ways they can spend your tax dollars. In Wisconsin, Gov. James E. Doyle went as far as creating an “Office of Recovery and Reinvestment” to “start laying the groundwork for quickly moving the federal stimulus money out the door, to maintain jobs, to create new jobs and to invest in economic growth in the state.”
America’s Dairyland turned to livestock and created its very own “Pork Czar.”
Doyle said he understands there may be potential conflicts of interest for [Chairman of Madison Gas & Electric Co.] Gary Wolter in the position, especially since much of the money is coming for energy projects. But Doyle said he’s talked with Wolter about it and expects him to step aside when there is a conflict.
Wolter is volunteering to be in charge of a new office to deal with the federal money. His assistant is Alan Fish, a vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Doyle says about 15 employees will be assigned to work in the office.
Final say on all projects will be determined by the state’s secretary of transportation, secretary of administration, and the governor’s chief of staff. All will directly report to the governor with very little, if any, oversight from the state legislature.
Wisconsin’s budget director currently estimates the state is looking at a $5.4 billion deficit for the state’s biennial budget ending June 2011. Given statements from many within the governor’s office and state legislature, you can add the Badger State to the list of states delaying the inevitable reality that comes from years of over-spending and bad budgeting.