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Browsing: Tracking the Trillions
The public is unlikely to ever know how the state Department of Administration came to decide how to allocate and spend nearly $4 billion from three federal pandemic emergency spending bills.
Questioned by a sometimes frustrated Joint Legislative Audit Committee Tuesday at the Capitol, DOA leaders acknowledged that many of the decisions about how to allocate money to state agencies and local governments were made in phone conversations and emails with Gov. Tony Evers and his staff that were not documented.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has added the $500 million to his 2023-25 budget to address a “burgeoning crisis” in mental and behavioral health, particularly among Wisconsin children, created by the impact of the pandemic. In his State of the State address, he declared 2023 the Year of Mental Health.
The Legislative Audit Bureau criticized the state Department of Administration for its lack of openness in how it is deploying $5.7 billion in federal health emergency funds granted to Wisconsin.
The audit report, released Wednesday, comes months after the Badger Institute first called for a comprehensive audit of all state spending of funds provided through the CARES Act, American Rescue Plan Act and the Investment and Jobs Act.
Using billions of emergency pandemic bill dollars to plug gaping holes in their budgets, local governments across Wisconsin and the country are setting themselves up to ask for tax increases or slash services as basic as police and fire protection when the federal funding runs out.
Twenty months after Congress passed a bill that rained $2.53 billion down on Wisconsin, the governor’s office in sole charge of administering the funding, as well as legislative audit and budget officials, have almost no idea of how all that money is being spent.
Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau plan to pay certain low-income families monthly stipends with no strings attached