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26
Jan
2017

road-closed-delay$1 billion budget deficit looms as GOP opposes long-term funding solution.


MADISON, WI – Wisconsin’s unsafe roads are costing drivers more in repairs, delaying commute times and resulting in additional traffic accidents. A new audit reveals that Wisconsin roads, ranked 4th worst in the nation, are deteriorating at a rapid pace due to Republican budget cuts and project delays. According to the report, “The proportion of state highways rated in good condition decreased steadily from 53.5 percent in 2010 to 41.0 percent in 2015.”

jen-shilling“It’s undeniable that one of our state’s core responsibilities is maintaining safe roads that ensure families can get where they’re going and products can be transported efficiently,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Instead of solutions, Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans have created a crisis that is jeopardizing thousands of jobs and putting the safety of Wisconsin drivers at risk.”

“Democrats will continue to stand with Wisconsin families, farmers and small businesses who support safe roads and a responsible, long-term transportation funding fix,” added Shilling. “With a $1 billion transportation deficit just months away, it’s time for the majority party to take a hard look at the facts and start working toward solutions. Wisconsin can’t afford to lose more jobs to Republican budget deficits and project delays.”

peter_barcaA report in 2016 estimated that Wisconsin’s deteriorating roads cost drivers $6 billion a year in increased vehicle maintenance costs, repairs and lost time. While Democrats have backed several long-term transportation funding solutions, Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans have refused to adopt these measures and are demanding additional road project delays and construction layoffs in the 2017-19 state budget.

“The Republican leadership’s neglect of our roads is as inexcusable as it is unacceptable," added Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). "Our crumbling infrastructure is costing taxpayers and hurting our economy. This is yet another hurdle for our struggling middle class and our slow job creation."

“The GOP has let the taxpayers of Wisconsin down. We are in a crisis state, and we need to take immediate action,” Barca concluded.

Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
 
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26
Jan
2017

road-closed-delayState Highway Audit shows our transportation infrastructure slipped further into disrepair from 2010 to 2015. Rough roads hurt residents, businesses and commerce. What we’ve been doing just isn’t working.

Written by Assembly Democrats   
 
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23
Jan
2017

women-roevwadeThe Abortion is Health Care Resolution sends a clear message that every woman deserves the right to make important decisions about family matters without intrusion from politicians.

Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
 
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23
Jan
2017

union-members-at-capitolThe Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee scheduled a public hearing on the Wisconsin Retirement System pension fund after recent audits revealed it's performance fell to 9th among ten comparable state pension plans.

Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
 
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21
Jan
2017

walker-state-denialLFB revenue prediction driven by assumptions about the national economy, budgeting at that level may be overly optimistic as Wisconsin continues to lag behind other states.


MADISON – On Wednesday, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released their annual 2017 state revenue update.  State revenues for the current fiscal year 2017 are estimated to come in $281.4 million below what was approved in the 2015-17 budget. The numbers are also $152.1 million what was re-estimated a year ago in the 2016 LFB revenue update.  Revenue growth for the current budget year 2017 is expected to be just 2.7%, well below the original budgeted growth of 3.8% and the LFB projection of 3.2% made last January.  Lower than expected income tax revenue and corporate income tax revenue are the main drivers of the lower estimates.

gordon_hintz“Lower than expected revenue is a reflection that Wisconsin’s economic growth rate continues to lag behind the national economy,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh). “The projected state revenue growth rate for FY2017 has declined with every estimate.”

The slower than expected revenue in the report was masked by unexpected savings that came as a result of lower Medicaid expenses and one-time agency savings.  The end result is a projected net ending balance of $362.2 million.  The $362.2 million includes $101 million of savings from a debt payment that Gov. Walker skipped last May. Gov. Walker skipped another $108 million debt payment in February of 2015 that inflated the 2015-17 beginning balance.

katrina_shanklandd“The projected budget year-end balance being championed by Republicans comes in spite of lower than expected state revenue,” said Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point). “When you consider that $209 million of borrowing should be included in that balance, the fiscal picture is hardly impressive.”

The LFB revenue update also increased their revenue projections for the 2017-19 biennium. The projections were made on the assumption that 5.4 million jobs will be added nationally over the next three years, that U.S. unemployment would decline to 4.1% by 2019, that GDP growth would average 2.4% a year over the next three years, all while the country experiences a growing trade deficit.

“While I hope the assumptions about the national economy come true, I am also aware of Wisconsin’s recent disappointing economic growth rate compared the U.S.” said Rep. Hintz, “Budgeting for 7% revenue growth over the current fiscal year to the 2018-19 budget may be optimistic, considering the current budget’s revenue is expected to come in well below what was passed in the original budget.”

Written by Joint Finance Committee Democrats   
 
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19
Jan
2017

bernie-sandersGroup inspired by Bernie campaign success hopes to build a progressive political revolution and take power back from the establishment and the billionaire class.

Written by GBP Staff   
 
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