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Letter to the editor

Referendum on the office of State Treasurer is approaching in April

March 23, 2018

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to alert readers to a state-wide referendum item on the ballot when we go to the polls on April 3. This referendum has gotten too little coverage in state media. It’s urgent that voters understand what’s at stake.

The ballot measure would amend the Wisconsin state constitution to eliminate the nonpartisan office of State Treasurer who manages over $1 billion in state Trust Fund assets.

As a commissioner on the Board of Public Lands Commission, the Treasurer oversees these funds for use in our public schools, local governments, and public lands. This money goes to improve public schools, libraries, local community infrastructure such as roads and sewers, parks and the UW system. The proposed ballot measure would place the Treasurer’s oversight function in the hands of the lieutenant governor, effectively removing barriers to partisan use of public assets that belong to all of us.

The Treasurer’s office is the public’s watchdog for these funds, and if voters eliminate it, Wisconsin will become the only state in the country not to maintain a firewall against appropriation and misuse of public money by partisan politicians.

The current Treasurer and Scott Walker ally, Matt Adamczyk, ran for his office on a platform of getting rid of the Office of Treasurer. Clearly this move has been in the works for some time, and like so much in recent Wisconsin politics is being carried out in the absence of public discussion, away from the light of voters’ scrutiny.

Our state’s public assets, owned by every citizen, are at risk in this election. You can learn more about this issue at www. saveourfiscalwatchdog.org/whyvoteno Vote NO on this stealth attempt to grab state-owned resources on April 3

Thomas R. Smith
River Falls