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Editorial: Voters should cash out Treasurer's Office

The balance sheet is clear. Wisconsin no longer needs a treasurer.

Voters will head to the polls Tuesday—in droves, we hope—to decide some significant local races and the Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet.

There also is a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the state treasurer. We hope voters don't ignore this ballot measure, because there are few direct opportunities for them to make an immediate change in their government.

Established under the Wisconsin Constitution in 1848, the Treasurer's Office originally did hold a variety of key duties administratively, but legislation has transferred most of them to other agencies as a result of technology, specialization and, so lawmakers claim, streamlined government. Modern-day auditors, revenue officers and more have made the state treasurer obsolete, so paying the annual $69,936 salary is a waste of taxpayers' money.

In the words of Matt Adamczyk, "As your current treasurer, I can verify that the office no longer has any significant responsibilities. Currently, I serve only on one board, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which requires just a few phone calls per month. That's honestly it!"

Here are two examples:

• The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has calculated tax and spending information for the governor and Legislature since 1968.

• The Wisconsin Department of Revenue took over the last major duty of the Treasurer's Office in 2013: The unclaimed property program, which tracks down owners of forgotten checking, savings and insurance accounts.

The ballot measure reads:

"Elimination of state treasurer. Shall sections 1 and 3 of article VI and sections 7 and 8 of article X of the constitution be amended, and section 17 of article XIV of the constitution be created, to eliminate the office of state treasurer from the constitution and to replace the state treasurer with the lieutenant governor as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands?"

Adamczyk says a "yes" vote will be a victory for more efficient and smaller government. We agree.

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