For Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Gov. Scott Walker's budget is "insult upon injury."
Falk put out a memo to the County Board Monday, analyzing how the state budget, if approved, would affect the county. It's not good, especially for the county's poor.
The biggest hit, she says, comes from the Income Maintenance program, which helps poor people access food stamps, BadgerCare and medical assistance programs.
Falk says Income Maintenance is being turned over to a private company that manages these programs in other parts of the state. The company currently has a backlog of 9,000 clients, who are waiting on average 400 days for services.
"If you are a family that needs food stamps, waiting for over a year to feed your children is not okay," Falk says. By contrast, she gives a recent example where the county helped a woman who had been thrown out of her house obtain medicine for a respiratory illness.
In addition, she says, clients would have to apply for services online.
Falk says the budget would also force the county to lay off 70 people who administer the Income Maintenance program. And it takes away $1.8 million in aid the county uses to perform required functions.
"We have to intervene when children are being abused," Falk says, naming just one of the county's many obligatory functions. "Every dollar the state takes from what is already a small pot of money is one less we have to provide services that are needed."
Falk also points to Dane County as proof that collective bargaining can work. In the past three years, she notes, the county has negotiated a 3% pay cut, a 5% pay cut and a $1 million increase to employees for benefits.
"We are the great example of how you can control spending and treat employees fairly," she says.