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Action Alert: Restore Funding for Focus on Energy

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May 09, 2005

From CleanWisconsin knekola@cleanwisconsin.org

Dear friends of saving energy and sound environmental policy,

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to decide the budget proposal to cut the Public Benefits (Focus on Energy) program Wednesday and Thursday, 5/11 and 5/12. The Governor has proposed to cut $56 million from this program and some are even proposing to eliminate the fund completely. As you know, Focus on Energy has provided energy efficiency and renewable energy assistance to folks all over Wisconsin, and has saved energy and prevented more pollution from power plants than any other program. It is essential that these programs continue!

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo proposes five alternatives:

  1. Accept the Governor's budget proposal by cutting $35 Million from Focus on Energy. (note: this only refers to the $35 Million scheduled to go to the Department of Administration; another $21 million cut is being considered elsewhere in the budget )
  2. Take an additional $1.9M (DOA's projected FOE surplus at the end of the biennium)
  3. Sunset immediately the fees collected for energy efficiency from ratepayers
  4. Sunset the $16M fee at the end of the biennium
  5. Delete the Governor's proposal (i.e. eliminate the $35M cut from the FOE program)

The right vote is # 5 providing adequate & secure funding for energy efficiency and renewables!

Click here for the contact information for the Joint Finance Committee. Please tell the members of the committee to support Alternative 5 - Full Funding for FOCUS ON ENERGY! This worthy program should not be raided to balance the state budget. The Public Benefits Fund is defined by law as being separate and nonlapsible to be used only for its intended purpose. Republican Senator Cowles has been particularly supportive of our cause but it is both the other Republican and Democrat legislators who need to be brought on board.

It would also be useful for you to contact your own State Senators and Assembly Representatives as they will eventually have to vote on the entire budget package.

There is an astounding coalition of diverse groups supporting full funding of Public Benefits. In addition to Clean Wisconsin and many environmental groups, this coalition includes:

  • Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
  • Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group
  • Wisconsin Paper Council
  • Wisconsin Builder Association
  • Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives
  • Wisconsin Merchants Federation
  • Midwest Hardware Association

Conspicuous in their absence from this list are the investor-owned utilities who collect the surcharge for this program, got the benefits of deregulation and whose customers are supposed to benefit from these programs. I also encourage you to contact your own customer service representatives for these utilities and demand they speak out in favor of full funding of this program.

Sincerely,

Katie Nekola

Energy Program Director
Clean Wisconsin
122 State Street STE 200
Madison | WI | 53703
email:
knekola@cleanwisconsin.org
phone: 608-251-7020
web:
http://www.cleanwisconsin.org