Monday, June 27, 2005

Bill Proposes Repeal of "Maintenance of Effort" Funding for Public Libraries

Rep. Mark Gottlieb (R-Port Washington) recently introduced AB-483, which would repeal the maintenance of effort funding for public libraries as a requirement for membership in a public library system. WLA is opposed to the measure.

WLA's position on this matter was outlined in a reply to a May 16 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (JS-Online) editorial that supported repeal of maintenance of effort funding. WLA President Terry Dawson stated, "Current law sensibly ensures that a municipality does not take undue advantage of neighboring libraries (and property taxpayers) while failing to support its own library...[and] that a municipality does not take undue advantage of state funded library system services while failing to support its own library." Dawson also pointed out that if the state provided adequate library system funding, fewer costs would fall to the local property taxpayer. He noted that the average local plus state per capita support for Wisconsin's public libraries is still under 65 cents per week, less than a can of soda.

Co-sponsors of the measure include Representatives Ainsworth, Gielow, Hines, Jensen, Jeskewitz, LeMahieu and Towns. WLA legislative leaders will be meeting with Rep. Gottlieb on July 13 to discuss the bill.

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