by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
March 26, 2018
On April 3, Wisconsin voters will find a referendum on their ballot to eliminate the office of the State Treasurer.
Please vote no on this referendum.
It would consolidate ever more power in the hands of the Governor.
It would also jeopardize some of our public lands.
And it would open up the door to mishandling of our trust funds.
Our State Constitution requires the State Treasurer to be an elected position and to serve on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, along with the Attorney General and Secretary of State.
This referendum would do away with the position, and replace the State Treasurer with the Lieutenant Governor on the Public Lands Commission.
As a result, we’d have one less check and balance on the Public Lands Commission, since the Lieutenant Governor tends to do what the Governor says. And when the Attorney General and the Lieutenant Governor are from the same party, as they are today in Wisconsin, then the Public Lands Commission would be in the pocket of that party.
That’s no small thing.
The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands manages more than $1 billion in trust fund assets and more than 77,000 acres of School Trust Lands, including old-growth forests and excellent trout streams.
In addition, it administers the state’s Trust Fund Loan Program. These funds help provide technology and other materials to our public school libraries. And the loan program allows school districts to borrow for much-needed safety improvements and building repairs.
Having an independent State Treasurer is a guard against cronyism, the mismanagement of our trust fund assets, the choking of our public schools, and the destruction of our environment.
That’s why you should vote no on this referendum on April 3, and please tell your family, friends, and colleagues to vote not, too.
We must stop this power grab.