The Assembly Committee on State Affairs held a public hearing on AJR2 Wednesday morning. WEMTA registered against the proposal and submitted testimony to the committee.
Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) and Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), the resolution’s authors, told the Committee that there is bi-partisan support for the proposal and that the elimination of the office would lead to smaller, more efficient government and save taxpayer dollars. Feyen said that the office serves no purpose and has no reason to exist. Both Feyen and Schraa noted that many of the treasurer’s duties have been transferred to other state agencies over time, something they claim has reduced costs.
Schraa promised that if the referendum goes to voters and fails that he will be the first person to draft a bill to give the state treasurer more responsibilities.
Current State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk testified in support of AJR2, arguing that the office is outdated, not needed and a waste of taxpayer dollars. He highlighted the fact that 11 of the 15 members of the Assembly Committee on State Affairs voted to eliminate the office last session. Adamczyk also told the Committee that he is looking for ways to better utilize the money in the Common School Fund to give more money to schools. He said he is working with the Walker administration on some changes, such as having BCPL purchase buildings and then having the state pay rent to the BCPL, which could be invested in the Common School Fund. Adamczyk also mentioned that he wants more of the BCPL's money to be managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), citing that BCPL only averages a 4% return while SWIB has a 7.2% rate of return.
Tia Nelson, former executive secretary of BCPL, testified against the proposal. Nelson highlighted the fact that eliminating the office would save no taxpayer dollars since the treasurer’s salary is paid entirely by program revenue from the unclaimed property fund. She emphasized that it is important to have an independent board overseeing the management of the Common School Fund. She also highlighted the fact that since the unclaimed property fund was moved to the Department of Revenue, costs increased by over $100,000.
Three members of the public testified in support of AJR2.
Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) said she plans to vote against the measure because she is concerned that it weakens checks and balances in state government.
The next step is for the Assembly Committee on State Affairs to vote on AJR2.