Recall that in the latest Wisconsin budget, not only was LIRC’s budget cut and its general counsel made a political appointee of the Governor, but the Labor and Industry Review Commission was also transferred from DWD to the Department of Administration for budgetary purposes.
The problem with this change is that administration of unemployment law is funded through a federal tax that employers pay. The funds are then channeled from the feds to the state agency responsible for unemployment law in the state, namely DWD in the case of Wisconsin. Since LIRC is now no longer part of DWD for budgetary purposes, LIRC faces the prospect of losing all of its federal unemployment funding (as well as some equal rights funding that also comes from the feds).
As the LRB explains:
Under prior law, the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) was attached to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and moneys were appropriated to DWD for the activities of LIRC. 2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-17 biennial budget act) attached LIRC to the Department of Administration and appropriated moneys directly to LIRC.
This bill provides for the transfer of federal moneys received by DWD to LIRC for unemployment administration and equal rights functions performed by LIRC and of other moneys transferred to LIRC for other purposes.
The mechanism for accomplishing this transfer of unemployment funds?
to transfer to the appropriation account under s. 20.427 (1) (k) an amount determined by the treasurer of the unemployment reserve fund. [emphasis supplied]
In other words, the treasurer of the unemployment reserve will now have the statutory authority to determine independently what LIRC’s funding from federal monies will be.