Sunday, July 18, 2010
Wisconsin's Maintenance of Effort Law for Emergency Services
Link to July 18 Appleton Post-Crescent article, "Maintenance of effort law affects municipal budgets".
Excerpt: A law mandating minimum levels of spending by local government on police and fire services puts a premium on public safety, but some municipal leaders think it ties their hands.
Wisconsin's "maintenance of effort" rule requires municipalities and counties spend at least as much on police and fire services as they did in 2009, or face the possibility of losing some of the tax money the state returns to them each year.
Lawmakers included the rule in the two-year state budget approved a year ago.
State mandates like maintenance of effort are one of the biggest problems facing Wisconsin communities, said Dan Thompson, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
Thompson said the league was adamantly opposed to the maintenance of effort law from the start.
"This became law without very much debate. It was sort of slipped into the budget at the last minute. It was clearly something police and fire unions wanted," Thompson said. "People were scared about being laid off, so it wasn't too much of a surprise, but it's a real intrusion to home rule."
LINK to 9/4/2009 Department of Revenue memorandum on "Expenditures for Emergency Services".
Maintenance of effort as a requirement for public library system membership. [Wisconsin State Statutes 43.15(2)]
Wisconsin Library Association statement on maintenance of effort.