Harsdorf Leads on Budget Reform Measures
(State Capitol, Madison) – State Senator Sheila Harsdorf has opened the 2009-10 Legislative Session with the introduction of legislation aimed at increasing transparency and accountability to the state budget bill. Harsdorf has authored legislation to prohibit campaign fundraising during budget bill deliberations and introduced a resolution to restrict new add-on provisions to the budget bill during the conference committee. New provisions added in the conference committee are not subject to public hearings and are not amendable upon consideration by the Legislature.
“Wisconsin taxpayers entrust lawmakers with billions of their dollars,” said Harsdorf. “Our budgeting process should be open and citizens should have confidence that we are acting in the public interest, not well-financed special interests. Prohibiting new items added during the conference committee will ensure that taxpayers have an opportunity to have their voice heard and not be shut out of the process.”
Harsdorf has been a long-time advocate for budget reform legislation, most recently helping to prohibit the use of the infamous “Frankenstein Veto” that created a $427 million dollar hole in the state’s transportation fund.
Harsdorf also welcomed the recent embrace by State Assembly leadership to require its members, under Assembly rules, to not engage in fundraising during the budget.
“We can and should pass this into law so all state officials involved in the budget are subject to the same rules,” said Harsdorf. “Ensuring the integrity of the budget bill goes a long ways to restoring confidence in the budgeting process as well as building a better product.”