Fraud and abuse commission moves to plug holesWhen Republicans were swept into office in 2010, we understood the people of Wisconsin wanted real change, and we got to work immediately.
By: By State Sen. Frank Lasee , Superior Telegram
When Republicans were swept into office in 2010, we understood the people of Wisconsin wanted real change, and we got to work immediately.
The governor assembled a taskforce to identify and streamline unnecessary government spending in the form of the Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse, and I was fortunate enough to serve on the committee.
Our goal was to find at least $300 million in unnecessary spending and streamline the way our government works. We accomplished our goal and identified $455 million in wasteful spending, and we are always looking for more ways to save taxpayer money.
Now that we have identified government inefficiencies, it’s time to fix or eliminate the programs involved.
Rather than reduce spending on relatively efficient programs that help people by making reductions across the board, the Waste, Fraud and Abuse commission will be implementing several tactical reforms designed to bring our state agencies into the 21st century. Here are a few examples of our successes.
Welfare Reform, $177 million saved and counting: Wisconsin has multiple programs designed to help people who are down on their luck provide for their families until they get back on their feet. Like any program designed to help those truly in need, there will always be people out there who abuse the system.
Some of the abuses include lying about how much money one has, how many people are in their families, and letting other people use their Foodshare and Medicaid cards. In fact, selling food stamps has been a trending topic on Twitter! See the evidence for yourself at http://twitchy.com/2012/
Overtime abuse, $2.1 million saved and counting: Abuse of overtime has been a big deal for a long time. Thanks to the changes made to collective bargaining privileges, the Department of Corrections has the ability to make sure there is an actual need for more staff before workers are authorized for overtime. As a result, overtime costs have declined by 85.7 percent.
Other reforms we’ve implemented have been smaller, more tactical strikes, like disconnecting land lines that aren’t being used and eliminating positions that have been vacant for years and are no longer relevant. By finding these small, unnecessary expenses and getting rid of them, we will be able to keep Wisconsin on firm fiscal footing.
A ship can be sunk by many small holes just as easily as a few gashes. It’s time we start plugging all of these holes and bailing out our taxpayers.
Even though the Waste, Fraud and Abuse taskforce has moved into the implementation phase of the its mission — making the cuts it has identified, my office is still taking suggestions on ways to find wasteful spending and eliminate it.
If you have a lead on wasteful spending, call my office at (608) 266-3512 or email me at Sen.Lasee@legis.wi.gov.
Wisconsin Sen. Frank Lasee hails from De Pere.