In the ballot box on April 3, after the bubbles for your local and county board, school district, circuit court judge, and Supreme Court Justice are filled, you will be asked if you want to eliminate the position of State Treasurer.
The position, held by Republican Matt Adamczyk, is supposed to function as the chief banking officer of the state, managing cash flow and taxes, but those roles have been stripped in the past 20 years. The Treasurer also sits on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which manages some state land for the purpose of financing public education.
Two decades ago, the Treasurer’s office had a budget of $4.4 million with 24 staff. Today there is one staff member and a budget of $227,000.
According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, “Wisconsin is one of just two states where the treasurer is not currently responsible for banking services and the only state in which the treasurer is not responsible for cash management.”
Proponents of eliminating the office say that it is a way to save some cash. Adamcyzk himself ran for the elected position on the platform of eliminating his own job.
But opponents to the measure believe the treasurer is an important check against spending by Scott Walker. Former Republican State Treasurer Jack Voight said eliminating the job would eliminate oversight of the governor’s spending.
While the treasurer is an elected position, the Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue, which have absorbed most of the treasurer’s duties, are under the direction of Walker.
“The value of the office is priceless,” Voight told Isthmus. “It’s so very important to have checks and balances. This is a power grab that’s been years in the making.”
If the position is eliminated, Walker has proposed the remaining duties be shifted to the Lieutenant Governor, a position currently held by Rebecca Kleefisch but up for election this year.