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As I See It

President not to blame for Wisconsin’s missed debt payments



Once again, Wisconsin state government is kicking the can down the road. Governor Walker’s administration will put off a debt payment of more than $100 million that was scheduled to be paid this month. Walker wants to have more of a cushion in the state budget, and thinks that money is better saved for a rainy day than paying off the debt the state has already incurred. That will cost taxpayers more than $2 million in additional interest. Delaying state debt payments is nothing new. Last year, Governor Walker delayed a debt payment of more than $100 million. Since 2001, more than $1.6 billion in debt payments have been put off. This is not unique to Governor Walker. Previous Governors, from both parties, have delayed debt payments as a way to shore up the state’s budget. But that doesn’t make it good public policy. Not only does it pass the debt off to future budgets, but taxpayers will foot the bill for all that additional interest. The most shocking part of this is Governor Walker is blaming President Obama for the decision. He says he has concerns about the Obama economy, so he wants to keep more cash on hand in case of a downturn. But it seems the economy is doing fine. And blaming the President fails to take into account that Walker’s last budget included tax breaks for the wealthy, which apparently the state couldn’t afford. He should be honest and blame this decision on things which actually happened, not on things which might happen.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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