Statewide Recall Costs Could Top $9 Million, GAB Says

MacIver News Service | January 6, 2012

[Madison, Wisc…] If there is a statewide recall election this year, it could cost Wisconsin taxpayers more than $9 million according to a new report issued Friday.

State Representative Robin Vos (R-Rochester) requested the information from the Government Accountability Board. The GAB memo was sent to Vos this afternoon.

“It’s about time taxpayers learned the cost of these unnecessary recall elections,” said Vos.”The citizens of Wisconsin should have known the estimated cost on local governments before a single petition was circulated.”

The figures released does not account for possible primary elections which would drive up the costs significantly by the millions.

“Is this how they want their valuable taxpayer dollars spent?” asked Vos. “At time when local government budgets are very tight, this will have a dramatic impact on the dollars that pay for our streets to be plowed and our neighborhoods to be protected by police and fire departments.”

To obtain the results, GAB staff solicited municipal and county election officials via an online survey. All 72 counties and more than 92 percent of the 1,850 municipalities in Wisconsin responded to the survey.

“The cost of the recalls is more than the funding for 12 state agencies,” said State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills). “Every dollar of taxpayer money wasted on this recall is a dollar that can’t be invested in job creation, tax relief or hiring new teachers.”

Vos and Darling are co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance.

“There have been very few successful gubernatorial recall elections in the history of our country. I have no doubt in my mind that this one will be unsuccessful as well,” said Vos. “The real results of the statewide recall election will be a financial drain on our local governments and an emotional drain on our electorate. The recalls are not healthy for our state.”

Vos is the author of a proposed constitutional amendment that would require petitioners give a specific reason – such as a criminal conviction or ethics violation – before mounting a recall effort.

“I’m currently working toward ending such a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Vos said. “While my efforts will not impact any recall election this year, we must seriously consider preventing any recalls in our state’s future.”

See the GAB memo to Rep. Vos.