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Gov. Walker to skip $101 million in debt payments for second year in a row

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Governor Scott Walker

MADISON — €” For the second year in a row, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is skipping debt payments to help with the state budget’s bottom line.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a memo Tuesday showing that Walker is skipping $101 million in payments. The move will cost taxpayers an extra $2.3 million dollars in deferred interest over the next eight years, according to the memo.

Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang said the Walker administration had initially told him it would delay $50 million in debt payments, later doubling that amount. Walker deferred $108 million in payments a year ago.

The tactic has been used by Democratic and Republican governors for years as a short-term budget-balancing move. Walker administration officials defended the move Tuesday.

“We have a proven track record of keeping the state’s fiscal house in order,” Laurel Patrick, a Walker spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “This is a prudent financial management tool that takes advantage of historically low interest rates in a process that has been utilized under previous administrations since 2002.”

Democrats on the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee blasted the decision. They said it was proof that Wisconsin can’t afford the tax cuts that Walker and legislative Republicans approved as part of the current budget.

“Gov. Walker can use every accounting gimmick in the book, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t make him fiscally responsible,” said Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee. “Every extra dollar spent on Walker’s debt is a dollar that won’t help solve the lead crisis, the juvenile corrections crisis or teach our kids to read.”

6 comments

  • Peanut

    democrats will bankrupt the state with welfare, republicans will bankrupt the state with tax cuts… wake up and realize that neither party is superior to the other.

    • michael pietrzykowski

      Better to bankrupt for the masses than the few. We are all people for the people not the Few.

  • michael pietrzykowski

    Just wondering Why your news cast can spend minutes on fluff stories and when it comes to important State politics it receives 5 seconds. Not picking any party but wisconsin politics are important. You did a piece on a owi attorney and Knocked on the door but failed to ask the governor for an explanation for not balancing the budget as promised. We need More News and less hype. No Elected offical should be glazed over. If you call yourself a news cast present the News.

    • MJ

      I couldn’t agree more. Politicians are not being held accountable. Most journalism, if you can call it that, is in a sorry state of affairs. Real investigative journalism is almost doesn’t exist any more. What a shame!

  • Carmen Sommers

    All the other Governors have done the exact same thing (doyle included) yet it’s only news if Walker does it..you should be ashamed.

  • Alprazolam

    According to the article, Doyle deferred a total of 687.8 million in debt payments during his eight years in office. Walker et al have eclipsed that mark already. Only 6 years into the Reign of Hypocrisy and they’ve already racked up 874.3 million in deferred debt payments.

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