With federal funds about to run out, the Wisconsin Elections Commission asked lawmakers Tuesday to stave off what would be a 28% staffing cut in just over two years. A federal grant is running out for the agency, which relies on that stream of money to fund 22 of its 32 positions. GOP Gov. Scott Walker has set aside $2.5 million in new state tax dollars in his two-year budget to retain 16 of those positions. But six positions would still disappear, amounting to a 28% staffing cut in an agency that has already seen job losses since 2015. “We are concerned that such a significant staffing reduction will mean that the agency will not be able to adequately carry out the duties and responsibilities assigned to it under federal and state laws,” said Jodi Jensen, a Republican who sits on the commission.
Jensen asked lawmakers on the Joint Finance Committee Tuesday to help make up the difference as the panel held its first day of hearings with executive agencies on Walker’s budget bill.
The commission has already been through substantial changes in the last year. In the summer of 2016, GOP lawmakers and Walker split the state’s former Government Accountability Board into an Elections Commission and an Ethics Commission.