Spotlight: Ending state budget tricks

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — It took the Republican-controlled Legislature the better part of a decade to get the state government’s fiscal house in order.

Now, lawmakers are pushing a constitutional amendment aimed at budgeting without the kind of gimmicks, tricks and smoke and mirrors that put Wisconsin in a budget bind.

Senate Joint Resolution 85, authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg), would require the state to account for and report all funds it receives or expends in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This set of strict accounting standards minimizes budgetary tricks. It’s required of local governments, school districts, and businesses, but Wisconsin state government hasn’t lived up to the same standards — at a cost to taxpayers.

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