Wis. committee nixes state control of Circus World

The Legislature’s finance committee has decided not to let the state Historical Society take over day-to-day operations at Baraboo’s Circus World Museum.

The society owns the museum but a private foundation has run it for 53 years. The museum’s attendance and revenue has been dwindling over the last decade. The foundation asked the society for more financial help in January. Gov. Scott Walker responded by including a provision in his executive budget calling for the society to run the museum, laying out $2.4 million to fund 10 positions there.

But the budget committee on Tuesday rejected Walker’s plan on a 16-0 vote. Committee members questioned spending additional state dollars on a circus given the state’s more pressing issues. They say the foundation should develop a funding plan with the society.