Request for an Audit of Governor Walker’s Plane Usage

This October, I sent a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Audit Committee requesting that the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) conduct a full audit regarding the usage and costs associated with the state plane fleet.

Throughout his first term in office Governor Walker has used the state plane more than his predecessors. While there are certainly legitimate uses for the Governor to have and use a state plane for long trips and emergencies, I am concerned with the frequent use of the plane for short trips that could easily be traveled by car. The state plane is not the Governor’s personal taxi service, it is the property of the taxpayers of Wisconsin and should be treated as such. Some of the facts that should be addressed in the Audit:

– Gov. Walker took 34 flights under 40 miles.
– 275 flights were taken to the Milwaukee area rather than driving down I-90. This cost taxpayers $165,000 total.
– Of those Milwaukee flights, nearly 1/3 did not have the Governor on the plane but were still charged to the taxpayers.
– In total, the Department of Administration has calculated a cost of $964,123.24 for these flight.
– The DOA flight calculation formula does not take into account the true cost of air travel, especially for short flights.

As a member of the Joint Audit Committee, it is my job to ensure that our taxpayer dollars are being spent in an efficient, transparent manner. Looking at the data, I believe that we must assess whether or not the Governor’s usage of the state plane has been in the best interest of our state. All options should be looked at to lower this cost and create better systems in the future. I will be drafting legislation next session which would limit flights with the state plane to trips that are 60 miles or over, except in the case of an emergency.

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District

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