Good. It is about time the legislature ended the abuse of this loophole.
The use of energy efficiency exemptions has spiked in the past three years.
In 2015, the statewide total reached a new high of $347 million, and schools nearly matched that figure in 2016 with $316.3 million. The total for 2017 has already surpassed $300 million.
Unlike traditional referendums, energy efficiency resolutions require only the authorization of a local school board — not voter approval.
If a district approves a resolution exceeding $1 million, a public hearing must be held and voters may request a referendum vote if they can gather the necessary signatures during a 30-day petition period.
Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal calls for the elimination of energy efficiency exemptions. The Senate and Assembly budget bills both include language to discontinue the exemptions, but schools have until the effective date of the bill to file a resolution.