If proposed budgets remain unchanged, Dane County will face dramatically reduced federal and state assistance and be forced to diminish or eliminate important public services in 2006, said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
\Clearly, both budgets present challenges and an unsettling degree of uncertainty to our effort to provide great services and limited taxes to our citizens,"" Falk said in a public statement released Thursday.
The proposed cuts would hurt the criminal justice system and human service programs most predominately. These reductions would impact the Sheriff's Department, victim-witness protection services, assistant district attorneys' salaries, juvenile services, drug-free schools programs, and the Dane County Airport Improvement Program.
The federal budget could negatively affect public safety Falk said. ""In this day and age cutting public safety dollars certainly does not make sense,"" she said. ""We won't be the only community in the country to think this, so that's why we have hope that Congress will make some changes.""
County Executive Chief of Staff Topf Wells said that the proposed cuts would also impair students advocating for more homeless services in Madison.
""With the proposed cuts in federal human service funds and the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, it would be much more difficult for the county to sustain the current level of human services and impossible to improve them,"" Wells said.
Elimination of the CDBG would mean cutting $1.2 million in federal funds for a range of human service and community improvement programs.
All told, the county estimates over $1.1 million in net funding cuts from the state budget if the county chooses to include costs from the W-2 program and a funding decrease of more than $3.7 million from President Bush's proposal.
The county executive office is working to change the budgets by lobbying Gov. Jim Doyle and state legislators about state budget issues. Falk also said the county is working to rally state senators and the Congressional delegation to lobby for changes to the federal budget.
""We believe that these issues are very nonpartisan in nature and we will continue to work with our entire statewide delegation so that Congress will hear from us how important it is to improve the president's budget,"" Falk said.
""Wisconsin's veteran, savvy delegation can and should be a significant force in amending the proposed budget,"" Falk added.
Doyle spokesperson Melanie Fonder said that the proposed state budget would increase financial aid opportunities by 34 percent and college tax deductions would be significantly expanded, reducing the price of tuition.
Falk does not anticipate making any preemptive cuts thanks to consistently careful and conservative projections from past fiscal plans.