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Deadbeat parents will not get interest-rate break

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)   Deadbeat parents in Wisconsin could soon be under more pressure to pay what they owe for child support. The state Legislature’s finance panel has rejected Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal to cut funds to collect past-due support – and they voted to reverse cuts made in the same program in 2011. Yesterday’s committee vote was unanimous. It came after lawmakers were told that counties were 17-percent less effective last year in identifying parents who owed child support, and orders to secure medical support for children dropped by 22-percent.

Officials said the cuts in state funds also reduced federal enforcement funds by even more. The total statewide allocation was $38-million in 2010 – but this year, it’s down to $17-million.

The Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Association said families that get less support from their absent parents are more likely to need public assistance – thus costing more for taxpayers and society. Lawmakers on the finance panel agreed to restore the total child support enforcement package to almost $38-million for next year. The change must still be approved by the full Legislature and the governor as part of the new state budget that takes effect July first.