NPR Excerpt:It's no secret that beginning with the days of Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, the state of Wisconsin has suffered through a string of consecutive structural deficits. Through boom, bust, republican or democratically led legislatures, the state has been unable to pull out of the red ink. So chances are high that the next governor, like Doyle when he was elected, will inherit a structural deficit. The deficit for 2010 is projected to land around $2 billion.
Titled - "Interstate expansion may hinge on governor’s race"
Of all the gubernatorial candidates, only Republican Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will say—without hesitation—that he'd support the project if elected. He says “it’s obviously important” to Rock and Dane County, and the Wisconsin Dells, and adds “there’s no doubt it should happen.”
So while Walker recently made the full commitment to deficit spend nearly a billion dollars or more on the I39/90 interstate expansion (Fed kicking in half?), he's going to pay for it with his Number #1 rule on job creation - lower taxes. Strictly Bush economics, but on a state level.
But if you read Walker's ideas on spending reform, nearly all of his positions on his version of spending reform collides head-on with his endorsement of the interstate expansion. Even the infamously deceptive GOP establishment belly-ache, "End the practice of raiding segregated state funds to pay for other programs" is built on the false premise that tax revenue collections are constitutionally segregated. They're not. It's a nice campaign talking point, anyone can use it. But in real time under the real duress of a looming budget hole and changing priorities, a governor would have to be a fool to let a baby starve while others are lushing down filet mignon and Petrus.
So while Democratic candidate Tom Barrett has offered a plan that could save state government more than a billion dollars a year, Scott Walker makes a commitment to spend nearly a billion upfront on something he believes is obviously important to Rock, Dane, and the Wisconsin Dells. Yet rule #3 of Walker's spending reform says, "The budget process should be about funding essential government services based on the taxpayers’ ability to pay. It should not be about horse trading for special interest groups or establishing talking points for the next campaign." Okay, forget the obvious that Walker is running a campaign right now and appears to be horse trading with at least a hundred individual interests (loyal Paul Ryan supporters) led by the politically active business lobby "Forward Janesville" on the interstate expansion. You'd think Walker would at least connect with the lunch bagging tax payer, right?
I'll give one thing to government-doesn't-create-jobs Walker, by unwaveringly supporting deficit spending on the interstate expansion, at least we know where he stands. I have yet to hear where Brett Davis (running for Lt. Governor) or Paul Ryan stand on the deficit built expansion.
Open up fellas, we're all ears.