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Toepel, M. G.; Kuehn, Hazel L. (ed.) / The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1954

Financing Wisconsin state government,   pp. [69]-182 PDF (34.8 MB)

Page [69]

W      ITHIN the great structure which is our state government lies
      a complex organization to collect, maintain custody of and
disperse the substantial sums of money required to keep that
structure operating. Every agency of state government depends
upon some form of state funds for at least part of its resources,
and without such moneys with which to operate, state government
would be of little effect. The work of its officers and employes,
the materials, supplies and equipment they use, and the capital
assets in the form of land, buildings and machinery they require
all must be bought with money which the public provides in one
manner or another.
  While every agency of state government is directly concerned
with the expenditure of funds in carrying out its statutory duties,
the particular task of collecting, managing and distributing the
state funds is a special function of selected agencies. The number
of these agencies is large, however, and overlays the entire state
governmental structure. Although some of the state agencies
are primarily or exclusively concerned with the financial operations
of the state, many have only minor or incidental tasks which relate
to this function. On one hand there are probably few if any duties
of the State Treasurer, Department of Budget and Accounts or the
Bureau of Purchases which do not impinge directly on state finance,
but on the other hand there are other departments in which the
incidental collection of fees is, beyond their expenditure of appro-
priations to operate their own agency, their sole relationship to
the task of financing state affairs.
  Past Blue Books and many other publications have carried isolated
accounts of one or more aspects of financing Wisconsin state gov-
ernment, but to the best of our knowledge no one has ever before
sought to set down in an integrated fashion all of the aspects of
the tremendous task of providing for the fiscal needs of the state.
It is the purpose of this article to provide a logical, comprehensive
and nontechnical story of the many processes which combine to
keep the state financially sound.
  We mentioned in passing the reasons why money is required to
operate government. While most if not all the people desire that
the costs of government be low, few people sense that if government
is efficiently operated, the only way to reduce its costs is to reduce
its services. Few, if any, of the laws enacted each time the legisla-
ture convenes reduce the functions or services of government. More
often they add new services. The advent of new gadgets, the
*Sections for which no author is designated were prepared by the Wis-
consin Legislative Reference Library.

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