Savings identified ... achieving them remains
On Jan. 10, 2012, Gov. Scott Walker's commission on waste, fraud and abuse in state government issued its final report. As the Journal Sentinel reported, it identified $456 million in spending it says can be avoided by changes in state, local and federal government.
How does it stack up compared to Walker's campaign promise on finding -- and eliminating -- $300 million of what he called "rampant” waste and fraud as government stood under his predecessor, Democrat Jim Doyle?
The report drew heavy criticism from some Democrats who said it overemphasized improving fraud detection in welfare programs for low-income people. Beefing up fraud detection in such programs was the main recommendation in the report.
Democrats also noted the commission report called for more aggressive collection of delinquent taxes owed the state, but Walker budget cuts prevented filling open positions in the Department of Revenue to accomplish that.
Beyond that, a close reading of the 147-page report shows it is far from a guarantee the state will save $456 million. Some of the recommendations are estimates and projections that may or may not materialize -- much of the projected $177 million in welfare-fraud savings would take up to 10 years to show up in full.
And some of the potential savings would depend on action by the federal government or by local government.
With the report, Walker's promise was met in part -- more than $300 million in potential savings to the state was identified. The document, the Journal Sentinel reported, says that $373 million of the targeted spending is by state government.
But the promise also involved going the next step and saving "at least $300 million per year.”
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie told us Walker believes the changes ultimately will save more than $300 million annually.
We'll keep this one at In the Works and check back on this promise later in Walker's tenure.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker waste panel identifies nearly a half billion in savings,” Jan. 10, 2012
Governor"s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse, final report, January 2012
The Wheeler Report, press release by Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Chris Larson, Jan. 10, 2012
Gov. Scott Walker press release, creation of Waste Fraud and Abuse Elimination Task Force, Jan. 25, 2012
Commission has begun meeting, first report due July 1, 2011
Walker"s waste commission held its first meeting in January 2011 and is beginning the process of seeking budget savings.
He created the panel, including public and private members, as one of his first acts in office in January. It"s initial report is due by July 1, 2011, wit ha follow up due Jan. 1, 2012.