Scott Walker Is Trying to Mortgage Wisconsin’s Future to Fund his White House Bid

Scott Walker
Scott Walker’s lack of popularity in Wisconsin is certainly noticeable. It seems everybody hates Scott Walker. Granted, I’m in among those “Madison liberals” Republicans despise so much, but you don’t see a lot of bumper stickers around these parts supporting Walker. You do see Obama bumper stickers and even anti-Walker bumper stickers, but nothing that makes you believe somebody might have violated the very laws of nature by voting for Walker. In a way, even the lack of bumper stickers is a damning silence.

A bigger problem for Walker right now, however, might be that his own party doesn’t like him. The New York Times yesterday characterized the situation as a “revolt,” a state of affairs certainly much worse than simple anger or a little grumbling.

Is his “big bold leadership” in trouble already?

The problem right now is his budget, which Wisconsin Republicans say is looking tailored more for out-of-state Republicans like voters in Iowa, than for Wisconsin.

Specifically, they say, some way must be found to pay for repairs to infrastructure – roads and bridges.

To listen to Scott Walker, Wisconsin can have its cake and eat it too, as he said with regards his last budget:

The 2013-2015 Budget allocates more than $6 billion to our transportation infrastructure. This significant investment by the state will make major improvements to our highway system and increase spending on harbor upgrades and freight rail. In addition, there are no gas tax increases, no mileage-registration, no fee increases, and there are no scheduled delays for any highway projects.

For the 2015-2017 budget, it is $7.36 billion he wants to devote to Department of Transportation spending. As is so often the case with Republican rhetoric, it just ain’t so. He can’t do the work without tax increases, fees, or delays.

If the Republicans who run the state can’t raise taxes (e.g. gas tax) or fees (like vehicle registration fees), and Walker says they can’t (And as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, he is “Armed with the nation’s most powerful veto”), then where does the money for Wissconsin infrastructure come from?

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial said recently that the “State needs to start thinking creatively about road funding.”

Unless new sources of sustainable revenue are found to pay for maintenance and building, commerce could well choke on the potholes, crumbling pavement and weakened bridges that will become the hallmark of Wisconsin roadways.

Republicans are long practiced at performing sleight of hand and making money disappear into the pockets of the rich, but they can’t make money appear out of thin air. This analysis shows where cuts would be made in lieu of borrowing.

According to Robin Voss (R-Rochester), Speaker of the State Assembly, Walker has declined to have “an adult conversation” about infrastructure. Nor did he endear himself to some Republicans when he cut funding to the University of Wisconsin.

Voss argues on his website:

The state is expected to have a nearly $6 billion deficit in the transportation budget over the next decade and a significant shortfall in the upcoming two-year spending plan. Governor Walker has proposed borrowing $1.3 billion for road projects in the 2015-17 state budget. Assembly Republicans, from the very beginning of the budget process, have said that amount of bonding is too high. This is one of the last issues being ironed out in the budget process and it’s an important one for many reasons. It not only impacts the future funding of our roads, but also the entire fiscal health of our state.

So they talk about borrowing money. Walker wanted to borrow $1.3 billion for the roads. Arnold did that in (or “to”) California. They are still paying for it. I have a conservative friend in California who hates Arnold as much as he hates Hillary, and for better reasons, I’d say.

Doesn’t sound like responsible government to me. What happened to not passing your government debts on to our children?

According to Voss, “it’s much more conservative to spend only what you have, instead of running up the state’s credit card.”
Voss says that’s “irresponsible.” He even underlines it. “You can’t borrow your way to prosperity,” he says.

Ouch, Governor Walker. I think that was directed at you.

But Walker isn’t trying to borrow Wisconsin’s way to prosperity. He is trying to borrow his way into the White House.
Voss points to some problems Walker would probably just as soon pretend don’t’ exist:

If we approved Governor Walker’s proposed transportation budget with $1.3 billion in bonding, the state would have to spend 25 cents of every transportation dollar on debt service instead of using that money to build and fix roads and bridges. Looking at it another way, that is $443 million a year in payments on our road debt, or $8.5 million a week!

Or simply not doing the needed work on roads and bridges? That doesn’t sound very responsible either. Bridges fall down. People die. How is that responsible government?

Yes, Republicans, much as they claim to hate socialism, love the things socialism gives them – like roads and bridges. And no more than Democrats do they want them to collapse.

But there is also the problem of what sorts of projects transportation money is being spent on, like roundabouts (traffic circles) in remote areas, fishing piers (yes, with transportation dollars), decorative bridges (fancy lighting and murals), and Wisconsin’s very own bridge to nowhere.

It’s a conundrum, yes it is, and Kevin Drum at Mother Jones puts it well when he says,

As in so many other states, even Republican legislators are starting to glom onto the fact that if you cut taxes, you’re pretty likely to create a big budget hole. Unfortunately for them, they’re learning that there’s only so far you can go in crapping on the poor to close the hole.

Here’s the problem: Walker is running for president. Raising taxes and preserving his conservative bona fides are incompatible. The Republican legislature knows the role they played in Walker’s success. They are not running for president.

No surprise then they have different goals and incentives. Walker doesn’t care if he sticks it to Wisconsin or to the Republican legislature. He is in this for Scott Walker, not for anyone else. Even the Republicans in the legislature can see this.

He plans on living in a big white house in a little more than a year. The Republican legislators will be stuck here holding onto a big bag of bills and no money to pay them. They may not be thinking of right and wrong here, but they are definitely thinking about their jobs.

21 Replies to “Scott Walker Is Trying to Mortgage Wisconsin’s Future to Fund his White House Bid”

  1. Scott Walker’s “Pump and Dump’ plan for Wisconsin.

    Not only was he reelected- he survived a recall.

    Well done cheeseheads!

  2. When did he become unpopular? Before or after he won re-election. Walker is only doing what the voters want him to do, isn’t he? So why is he unpopular? Did they not ask for this when voters voted him back in office?

    What did they expect? So Wisconsin has a deficit. Well boo boo! The state has had a deficit since his first election. What did voters do? Re-election him!!! Apparently they like deficits in WS, MI, KS, NJ, LA, FL…. This is what they voted for: turning predominately blue states Red. So enjoy it! And think twice before you tell a joke about Southern backwardness. They’ve joined the club!

  3. I saw a photo of a man holding a sign, apologizing for having voted for Walker. I wasn’t here at the time of the recall, but I’d say buyer’s remorse is a very real thing here. The recall itself I’d trust as much as Bush Florida 2000.

  4. The republican governors who are running HUGE deficits and their states into the ditch, want to run this country??

    Wisconsin – $2.2 billion budget deficit

    Gov. Walker Signs Anti-Union Bill, Making Wisconsin the 25th ‘Right-to-Work’ State
    “Labor leaders around the country denounced the state’s right-to-work law. “It’s never been clearer that Scott Walker perceives Wisconsin’s working families to be the enemy,” Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, said. “This legislation not only demonizes working people — union and non-union alike — it will hit everyone in the pocketbook with lower wages and an economy that’s thrown out of balance.”

    What the heck is going on with Wisconsin public education?

  5. Republicans love running state deficits.
    Wisconsin – $2.2 billion budget deficit
    Louisiana – $1.6 billion deficit
    Wisconsin – $2.2 billion budget deficit
    New Jersey – $7.25 billion deficit
    Pennsylvania – $1.8 billion deficit
    Kansas – $1 billion deficit
    Arizona – $1.5 billion deficit
    Alaska – $3.5 billion deficit
    Alabama – $950 million deficit
    Alabama – $700 million deficit
    Michigan – $454 million deficit
    North Carolina – $445 million deficit
    Oklahoma – $600 million deficit
    Maryland – $1.2 billion deficit
    Texas – $27 billion deficit

    Please take lesson from Democrats who love running a surplus
    California $6.7 billion surplus
    Minnesota $1 billion surplus

    Isn’t it remarkable what a DEMOCRATIC state that doesn’t have their head in the sand can do?
    This Is What Happens When a State Seriously Invests in Clean Energy

  6. “Scott Walker’s lack of popularity in Wisconsin is certainly noticeable. It seems everybody hates Scott Walker”

    Why the f*** did they vote him in THREE times, then?

  7. “He is in this for Scott Walker, not for anyone else.” I tend to believe that Scott Walker is in this for the Koch Bros.

  8. That’s the $64,000 question. A huge factor is the virtual stranglehold of the right wing media up there. What’s infuriating for me is I thought Wisconsinites could see through all the crap. I went to Marquette I Milwaukee 35 yrs ago and can’t believe how the state has devolved. Maybe I was too naive all this time. Living in West Suburban Chicago, about an hour from the state line, I followed all the rallies and issues. To say I was stunned at the results of the recall is an understatement. Some of my liberal cousins and friends who live there are beyond livid.

    The Milwaukee Journal criticisms of walker are welcome and hopefully they will continue in quantity and substance. My concern is that so far walker is the Teflon con, as I call him. Even with all his koch money, walker’s atrocious record as Governor and Milwaukee County Executive will, I believe, be exposed once the spotlight is on him.

  9. This is why you need a strong Civil Service. Government by people who have skin in the game, not some contractor.

    Walker has strip mined the State’s common wealth and sold it off. You rent what you once owned, and the Fed is too weak to come and save your butts.

    Time to stand your ground and tip him off his throne.

  10. Did anyone watch the show Scandal, It was about a Republican president who was elected because of the ability to hack computers and turn the vote the way the super powers wanted it. Sounds like both Florida and Wisconsin to me!

  11. Hrafnkell, are you from Wisconsin? I am. I lived in Madison for many years, and then Milwaukee. I consider Madison my “home.”

  12. Paul, I’m from the western Chiburb.
    I now live in Wausau and have voted against this koch sucker both in the first time and in the re-call.
    I am one of those who is “beyond livid”.

    The Journal/Sentinel is publishing editorials and etc against this creep.
    It needs to be shoved back under the rock from whence it came.

  13. Yesterday, WAOW, a local TV station had a blurb about the speed limit around Wausau being raised to 70MPH.

    I pictured this as jobs leaving WI even faster, chasing the koch sucker and his owners’ $$$$.

    That WEDC cash flow has been PROVEN to be an major outflow rather than jobs INTO WI.

  14. That WEDC cash flow has been PROVEN to be an major outflow rather than jobs INTO WI.

    Also, it is not only jobs and loot they are STEALING from WI, it is also minds and education as can be read here~

    The book burner is forcing even tenured professors to escape to greener education pastures as he and his gangsters loot the UW system.

  15. When Scott walker ran for Governor the first time I kept hearing about his lack of popularity. Less than a year in his term a massive recall effort was launched and many millions of dollars was spent to recall him, after all he lacked so called popularity. The vote failed by a bigger margin. Then he won reelection by a bigger margin. so it seems you may take some polls no one ever heard of and talk this nonsense. Next time a poll is put out why not go by the real clear politics of polls. This one is a more precise gauge of what’s going on.

  16. He won the recall election simply because many people believed that the recall process was the wrong way to go about things.
    As far as winning the other 2, He’s pretty much living proof that America in general has the best elections money can buy. Without the Koch’s backing, he wouldn’t have stood a chance of winning.

  17. I’m going to be pc insensitive. WI was stupid enough to elect this slime ball twice. Against their blue collar roots & self-interest. But the whole country? If the cross-eyed fuctard thinks he can pull that off, he’s delusional.

  18. WI is of the mindset “liberals” are bad. They’ll let this cheap crook rob their state to run for president. Gladly.

  19. I’m from Wisconsin and didn’t vote for him in any of the elections. There was a lot of big money thrown into the elections. Along with fopars done by the democrats during the recall. Scotty Walker thinks he’s the master puppetteer of Wisconsin. Koch bros. think Walker’s their puppet. Wake up, proud Wisconsin, before the state is robbed from us.

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