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Budget item would cut duties of state treasurer even more

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The State Treasurer would have almost nothing to do, under a budget measure endorsed Wednesday by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

Kurt Schuller has kept himself busy by getting unclaimed property back to its rightful owners. That job would be transferred to the Revenue Department under a budget provision endorsed 13-3 Wednesday.

It would leave Schuller with only one task – chairing the Board of the Commissioner of Public Lands, and he says the panel only meets twice a month for 15 minutes on the phone.

Schuller, a Republican, campaigned on a promise that he’d try to eliminate the Treasurer’s office – but he’s upset that the office is being kept while the duties disappear.

It takes a constitutional change to eliminate the Treasurer, and lawmakers have found it easier to dump virtually all of the treasurer’s duties since 2011.

Senate Finance chair Alberta Darling proposed the latest reduction. She said the Revenue Department was more able to handle the unclaimed property program, and get information out more efficiently.

Schuller said he was blindsided, and he called it, “incredibly stupid.” He said the treasurer’s salary was funded by revenues from the unclaimed property program.

Now, he says the taxpayers will end up paying for a top official to do virtually nothing. Schuller will not seek a second term next year.