Vote Delayed On DNR’s Land Stewardship Budget


The Joint Financing Committee delayed a vote on Wisconsin’s land stewardship budget, as Republicans consider what the state borrows to pay for it.

Governor Walker would let the Department of Natural Resources borrow up to $60 million a year for the stewardship program. A little more than half of that could go toward purchasing new conservation land.

The budget committee was scheduled to vote on stewardship Thursday but held off. Finance Committee co-chair Alberta Darling said Republicans were looking at reducing the amount of borrowing allowed. “I think a lot of people are, and I would be as well.”

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What bothers Republicans is the amount of money the state spends paying off old bonds. Darling says it’s huge, “and many people are saying we’ve got to get control of the interest and the principal on debt service. So this is a good time to look at this issue.”

The state would spend roughly $81 million on stewardship debt service in the second year of this budget.

The delay worried environmental groups. The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters said Republican lawmakers were undermining both the governor and the values of Wisconsin voters.