Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Senate recycles bad green bill

By Bill Osmulski, MacIver News Service 

Wisconsin school districts could soon be unleashed to spend as much as they want without going to referendum – as long as it’s in the name of energy efficiency.

A group of 12 Republican and two Democrat state lawmakers plan to bring back the Energy Efficiency Exemption (EEE), which existed from 2009 to 2018. On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy held a public hearing on the bill.  

The program allowed districts to disregard their revenue limits for “green” projects. School districts and the Department of Public Instruction applied a very broad interpretation of what qualified.

The EEE funded new buses, roofs, boilers, HVACs, lighting fixtures, kitchen equipment, pool upgrades, fire alarm systems, parking lots, and masonry repairs. Green Lake even used the exemption to remodel its kitchen and buy new computers.

In total, school districts spent over $1.3 billion through the EEE from 2009 to 2018, according to the Department of Public Instruction. Almost half of that spending ($603.7 million) was approved during the final year of the program. Some issued bonds with debt service payments for the next 20 years.

All that extra green spending came directly from property taxpayers without ever going to referendum. That’s why lawmakers decided to shut down the program in the 2017 budget.

Unfortunately, dozens of school districts saw this as an opportunity to pass large building and operating referendums without taxpayers noticing. As the higher mill rates tied to the EEE ended, they were seamlessly replaced with the higher mill rates tied to the newly passed referendums. School district officials called this a “levy shelf” or “levy opportunity.”

Senators Luther Olson (R-Ripon), Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), Mark Miller (D-Monona), Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) are sponsoring SB 494, which would bring back the EEE and make it permanent.

Learn more at the MacIver Institute.

Listen to more:

Explore More
Liberals confirm they hate the constitution

Liberals confirm they hate the constitution

Liberals’ real target is the Constitution itself. Apparently it isn’t “living” enough for the left, so they want to kill it completely.

Read More »

October 22, 2020
Leave it to Evers: ‘Asinine’ Tony

Leave it to Evers: ‘Asinine’ Tony

The governor who has done more to kill Wisconsin business and jobs than COVID-19 could ever do now says the Badger State’s “economy is going to tank” if residents don’t follow his economy-killing edicts. 

Read More »

October 22, 2020
Kewaunee businesses hit hard by marina inaction

Kewaunee businesses hit hard by marina inaction

Vandenack says his business has taken a big hit from the city’s refusal to repair the Kewaunee marina’s boat launch and parking lot, idled for two seasons of boating — the lifeblood of this Lake Michigan city of nearly 3,000 residents.

Read More »

October 22, 2020
Dem Assembly candidate a no-show

Dem Assembly candidate a no-show

The Democrat running for Southeast Wisconsin’s 13th Assembly District has urged “smart development” for her community, but she hasn’t attended a single meeting of the Town of Brookfield development committee she was named to more than two years ago. 

Read More »

October 22, 2020
UW students paid to take COVID tests

UW students paid to take COVID tests

University of Wisconsin-Madison students can pick up a quick $10 — if they agree to take a COVID-19 test. A source this week told Empower Wisconsin that some students were earning as much as $40 per COVID test, so we checked into it.

Read More »

October 21, 2020
1.8 million ‘ghost voters’

1.8 million ‘ghost voters’

Judicial Watch has released a comparison study of Census Bureau population statistics and state voter registration data to reveal a notable disparity. The watch dog group is now warning of potential voter fraud and “dirty” voter rolls.

Read More »

October 21, 2020
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *