The following story is something you might find hard to believe, or maybe not. Sure you’ll hear about the $70 million in added tax revenue that will get eaten up quickly by other unexpected cost in the current budget, but will you hear much about another last minute addition that hands money to donors? It literally just gives them money, period:
Journal Sentinel-Jason Stein: A $500,000 sportsmen's grant slipped into the state … is set to go to a group with ties to Republican insiders that has praised GOP politicians and lobbied for legislation such as lowering regulations on iron mining and development in wetlands. The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a group formed in January with no record of its own in outdoors training, is the only applicant for the scantly noticed two-year grant to promote hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin that is being reviewed Thursday by a special panel. If the grant is approved, the state could end up paying it every two years to United Sportsmen…
Wait for it….
…which has said in its application that it would use most of the money to pay its staff and consultants.
Ah, taxpayer money well spent. Are you sensing a little bit of arrogance and entitlement yet? Guess who drafted the payoff?
…unanimously voted into the state budget in May after just seven minutes of discussion by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which acted on a motion drafted by outgoing Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder.
Open to every applicant (favored by Republicans that is) who knew about it:
George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (said the) wording of the budget motion prevented Meyer's federation from applying for the award. "We think its purpose is important. But clearly it looks like it was put together for one group."
It gets worse too; claim total ignorance when caught:
In an interview, Suder said (he) wasn't aware that United Sportsmen would include his former chief of staff, Luke Hilgemann, in the application as one of its educators. Hilgemann recently left his job overseeing and lobbying for the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity to take a job in Washington as the No. 2 executive for the group favoring conservative economic policies.
Business and government...fascism, now in control. But that's not all folks:
Suder said United Sportsmen was "eminently qualified" to receive the grant but when asked did not offer any specific qualifications.
One of the least qualified former tea party state senators who quit gets a job:
One of the educators listed in United Wisconsin's application was Pam Galloway, a former GOP state senator from Wausau who last session helped pass a concealed-carry law — also a big priority for Suder, and later stepped down from the Legislature.
Rammed down our throats? Does a 7 minute discussion period qualify, versus the outrageous one year debate for ObamaCare?
And due to the lack of public notice, several eligible groups weren't aware of the grant until after application deadline. Don Kirby, executive director of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, said he had no knowledge of the grant. "Our organization would have been interested to pursue this," Kirby said. "I'm more than a little disappointed to find out now." The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association has a long history of running Learn To Hunt and other training events.
Rep. Scott Suder passed this handout to United Sportsmen knowing almost all the money went into pockets of former politicians and campaign contributors, and not to promote fishing and hunting.
According to the group's application, United Sportsmen would use $370,00 on salaries and $20,000 on employee benefits over the first two years, plus $56,000 more on unidentified consultants. The grant will provide $200,000 this year and $300,000 in 2014. Thereafter, it will provide $450,000 in each two-year budget. The grantee will have to provide $150,000 of its own funds in matching dollars in each future two-year budget.
Republicans as usual have not even come up with a way to fund the grant in the future:
The state money in the first year will be from general tax revenue; the DNR said it was still clarifying how the grant would be funded beyond 2013.