Last week Democratic State Rep. Mark Pocan and Democratic State Sen. Chris Larson started circulating the Recycling Fund Restoration Act, a bill that would reverse cuts to Wisconsin’s recycling fund thanks to the biennial budget submitted by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and rubber-stamped by his Republican allies in the legislature.
Rep. Pocan and Sen. Larson issued a joint statement explaining the legislation:
“Protecting our environment through responsible recycling programs not only protects our natural resources, but it’s good for business and good for our economy,” said Pocan. “When we weaken recycling programs by raiding their funding, what does that say to families trying to teach their kids about protecting the environment?”
The Recycling Fund Restoration Act would direct $26 million in additional funds to the recycling fund, an amount equal to what was cut from the fund by the 2011-2013 biennial budget Republicans approved.
“The recent reduction in funding for recycling programs in the state amounts to an endorsement of overflowing and unsustainable landfills,” said Larson. “This bill will encourage responsible long-term management of waste in Wisconsin, and the benefits from this effort will be felt for generations.”
The original biennial budget submitted by Gov. Walker not only cut the Recycling Fund by $26 million, but it also eliminated the requirement that local governments operate recycling programs. After pushback from Democrats (and some Republicans), the requirement that local governments operate recycling programs was restored to the budget, while the $26 million in funding that had been raided was not restored, leaving the program as an unfunded mandate.