MEMO: Nygren, Darling Record of Cutting Drug Treatment for Children

To: Members of the Media
From: Scot Ross, One WI Now Executive Director
Date: September 16, 2015
Re: GOP Cuts to Teen Drug Treatment

Republican Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling have introduced a series of bills targeting drug abuse in Wisconsin.

It is vitally important to remember that as part of the 2011-13 state budget, the Republican-controlled legislature cut the entire $8.7 million in general purpose revenue appropriated for an AODA grant program. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the program defunded by the Republicans provided block grants to schools to “address alcohol and other drug abuse issues among school age children.”

In addition, in Walker’s 2011 budget other AODA programs funded by criminal penalty surcharge revenues were subjected to 10 percent across the board cuts to try to balance a budget that included nearly $100 million in tax giveaways to corporations and investors.

The funding cut raises serious questions about the sincerity of the effort and the priorities the Republicans have had when it comes to putting re-election campaign-minded tax cuts for corporations at the expense of funding for young people facing drug and alcohol abuse challenges.

The co-authors of these current measures, Rep. Nygren and Sen. Darling, were not only enthusiastic cheerleaders of the budget which cut these funds, but also they were architects as a senior member and a co-chair of the JFC during the 2011 budget.

As the executive director of One Wisconsin Now, I would offer the following on-the-record comment on this series of events: “Drug and alcohol abuse by young people is a personal issue for many families across Wisconsin, but when young people needed Republicans like Rep. Nygren, Sen. Darling and Gov. Walker to provide them the help they needed, campaign-minded tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy were the Republicans sole priority. If Republicans are serious about this crisis, they would give the wealthy a little less for once and focus on kids struggling to become free of addiction.”

Previously release on this information:

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