States Barter Fish and Bullets to Save Money

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Monica Davey


05/22/2009 - Minnesota was looking for a bargain on the tiniest walleye fish, known as frylings, that the state stocks in some of its lakes. Wisconsin needed more of the longer fingerlings for its fishing lakes. So the neighbors have decided to share fish — Wisconsin’s frylings for Minnesota’s fingerlings — along with hundreds of other items: bullets for the police, menus for prisoners, trucks for bridge inspections and sign language interpreters.

With governors from opposing political parties and residents who often share only sports rivalries, Minnesota and Wisconsin are being drawn into the unusual alliance by financial circumstance. The sharing, officials in the two states say, could save them $20 million over the next two years.

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“It may be that the fiscal crisis will finally move some of these ideas over the finish line,” said Lori Grange, a senior officer at the Pew Center on the States, a nonpartisan research group, “but it’s also a testament to how tough some of these proposals are that even in this climate they aren’t automatic winners.”

The real question, budget experts say, is how much all this condensing, overhauling and sharing will actually save, an issue that has been little researched.

Read the full article States Barter Fish and Bullets to Save Money on the New York Times' Web site.

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