Legislature should restore funding for valuable consumer advocacy group

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   It is almost always a bad idea to include policy change in the state budget bill, even when the policy has fiscal implications. We get that the Joint Finance Committee sees taking critically needed funding for the Citizens Utility Board out of the budget as saving money. But the money saved is at the expense of direct consumer saving achieved by this respected advocacy organization and that’s bad policy.

   The defunding request comes at the behest of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce which thinks CUB favors residential ratepayers of big businesses. OK. But the state legislature should be looking out for the little guy too, and nobody does a better job of that on the utility end of things than CUB. Not only is CUB an effective advocate for consumers, but it’s won the respect of utilities in this state which results in better long range energy planning. We’d hate to see it go.

   We hope the full legislature can see beyond the Milwaukee business community and restore funding for CUB. It’s in the best interest of consumers, and in the long-term best interests of this state.