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Milwaukee mayor says recycling cuts may be illegal


UNDATED (WSAU) Milwaukee’s mayor says it might not be legal for the state to reduce local recycling grants before the end of the year. Tom Barrett says he’ll ask Milwaukee’s city attorney whether it’s legal for the state to cut out $13-million it allocated for local recycling programs between June and December.

Governor’s Scott Walker’s next budget would eliminate state recycling funds starting in 2012. But last week, the D-N-R told local governments it expects to start reducing those grants on June first. Barrett says there’s no way the communities can make up for the loss – because the tax-and-fee schedules and the labor contracts were set last fall. Milwaukee would lose about $1.3-million, or 40-percent of what it expected in state recycling funds for this year.

The D-N-R cited the state’s fiscal problems for reducing the grants. But Barrett says it’s a matter of trust – and the state is going back on what it promised. The end of the recycling grants for next year would not cut state spending. That’s because the money that’s now provided for the recycling grants would go toward economic development instead.