Gov. Scott Walker continues to try to ratchet up pressure on 14 Democratic state senators who are in Illnois to prevent passage of his union-busting budget review bill. With Walker's first phony deadline of last Friday having passed without the Dems returning, he's now set another for Tuesday. And the news media dutifully report whatever he says:
A statement released by Gov. Scott Walker's office on Monday says the option of refinancing debt in order to save $165 million will be lost unless Senate Democrats return to work and vote on it by Tuesday. "According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if Senate Democrats refuse to return to Wisconsin and cast their vote the next day the option to refinance a portion of the state's debt will be off the table," the statement says...
In addition, Cullen Werwie, the governor's spokesman, said in a statement: "Now they have one day to return to work before the state loses out on the chance to refinance debt, saving taxpayers $165 million this fiscal year. Failure to return to work and cast their votes will lead to more painful and aggressive spending cuts in the very near future."
In fact, what Walker is proposing doesn't save money, it costs money. He simply wants to borrow money now to pay off some obligations and push the payment off into future years.
The governor has described the restructuring as a cost-savings measure. It's actually a short-term fix that averts a crisis this budget year but costs the state an additional $42 million in interest payments over the next 10 years, according to a fiscal bureau memo issued Tuesday.
One Wisconsin Now was the first to point it out in a news release.
And Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, has been saying it to anybody who will listen, He said the restructuring plan will add between $40 million and $45 million to the state’s long-term debt. “It’s all about deferring payments,” Erpenbach said. “He is kicking the can down the road.”
Walker's phony emergency and false claims about saving money when he's actually spending more are just a warmup for his budget speech, now scheduled to be delilvered at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a state Capitol he is trying to clear of protesters.
Expect even bigger whopppers then.
Anyone who really cares about saving taxpayer dollars more than busting unions shouldn't be villifying the missing 14 Democrats. They should be thanking them for all the money they've saved us.