Thursday, June 12, 2008

Report recommends reductions in Common School Fund deposits

The state's Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) recommends that most of the approximately $50 million that is deposited into the Common School Fund from the unclaimed property program be placed instead in the State's General Fund. The LAB's review of the Office of the State Treasurer's administration of the $354 million unclaimed property program makes recommendations regarding internal controls, though it found those to be reasonable, and policy issues. Specifically, they recommend narrowing the definition of unclaimed property such that all but about 0.1 percent of proceeds would be deposited to the State's General Fund rather than into the Common School Fund where is it funds low-cost loans to municipalities and school library needs. They note that such a move would boost general purpose revenue in a time of budget constraints, but it is likely to be opposed on constitutional grounds by the State Treasurer and the trustees of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, administrators of the Common School Fund. (WLA and the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association also would oppose this change.)

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