By Mark Lisheron, Badger Institute
On the same day last month, Eau Claire city officials asked taxpayers to support a property tax increase while approving spending another $537,701 to operate a cooling and warming center for the homeless.
Like counties and cities all over Wisconsin, Eau Claire is awash in cash. The homeless cooling center, open at a cost of $2,000 a day, is being paid for from the $13.5 million the city got from the federal Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program.
SLFRF is a $350 billion part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March of 2021. Wisconsin’s share of that program is $2.53 billion, according to data compiled by the U.S. Treasury Department.