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The Taxpayers Of Wisconsin Just Got Railroaded By Governor Walker

A high-speed failure leaves taxpayers $65 million in the hole.

We all remember the high-speed rail debate that helped propel Walker to his current position as dictator, I mean Governor, right? Walker was against high speed rail, citing the state’s burden of annual operating costs of approximately $7.5 million as his reasoning for rejecting federal rail funds, despite the possible creation of hundreds of jobs in the new industry. He won based on the promise of "saving taxpayer dollars".

But a report released December 8th from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau came with some astounding news (Click here for the analysis):

Wisconsin taxpayers are on the hook for between $65 - $84 MILLION to pay for required annual maintenance costs, including equipment and a temporary facility to house the state’s already-purchased Talgo train cars, design engineering, real estate acquisition and construction of a permanent maintenance facility and required improvements to the existing downtown Milwaukee train station to bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Revised estimates, and the fact that federal aid would have covered almost 90% of our annual costs would have reduced the state’s yearly expenditures to as little as $750,000. If you do the math, Wisconsin would have gotten 112 years of maintenance on the high speed rail line for the same amount it is paying for work that would have been covered under the federal allocation. ~ http://www.wisdems.org/news/press/view/2011-12-scott-walkers-refusal-of-federal-rail-money-leaves-w

If I were looking for a job, I would rather find work on a high speed rail than in the coal mines of northern Wisconsin. What about you? And just how many jobs were lost when Walker pushed away the high speed rail? At it's height of production in 2012, estimates show that nearly 4,700 people would have been working on the project. Add that to the fact that Wisconsin led the nation in 9,700 jobs lost the other month plus the $65 MILLION we have to fork out for Walker's railroad buddies (remember the illegal campaign donations from WI & Southern Railroad?), and Scott Walker is pissing off people left and right.

I can guarantee that you will not hear this news on 620 WTMJ or 1130. Charile Sykes and Mark Behling cherry pick info and leave right-wingers short-sighted and uninformed. Thank God for NPR and Milwaukee Public Radio.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/111362019.html ~ article about jobs associated with the high speed rail project.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

J. B. Schmidt December 14, 2011 at 05:47 AM
@Jason You are being intellectually dishonest about your facts. 1) Doyle rammed this through in the 11th hour on No. 1st 2010 knowing full well that state wide support had dropped to 41%. His intent was to saddle Walker with it. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/97779344.html 2) The numbers you quote are estimates. Did you read the whole thing? The DOT has not provided all the numbers yet. 3) Walker tried to get a portion of the original $810 million to use for this, but President O said no. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/118842999.html 4) The 4700 jobs would peak in 2012 and then reduce down to only 55 permanent. The mines will employ 2000 to start for over 100years and will generate billion of dollars for the economy of Wisconsin. The train would have been a money pit that required government subsidy from start to finish. http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/jun/12/wisconsin-manufacturers-and-commerce/wisconsin-manufacturers-and-commerce-says-new-mine/ I don’t know why I am surprised; you just paraphrased the article from the Wisconsin Democrats linked above. The real reason we have this problem is Doyle, he pushed through without state approval. He could have waited two days and let the people decide with their votes. Instead, Doyle brought these fees on the state and now Walker needs to find a way to cover the cost. This seems to be a recurring theme, Walker fixing Doyle’s mistakes.
James R Hoffa December 14, 2011 at 06:49 AM
@Jason - You forget the fact that the federal government is BROKE, currently running HUGE deficits, and has an over $15T+ debt. The amount of money that the fed spends on debt service alone eclipses many industrialized nation's GDPs! So essentially, the federal money for the high-speed rail would have been BORROWED money that your children would have had to pay back with interest. Current amount owed per taxpayer is over $134k, but you just want to keep on piling up the debt - incredible! I’d dread to see what your personal finances look like! Questions - Do you loot your children’s piggy banks to pay for things that you want today as opposed to saving up and buying those things yourself? Do you personally leverage your children’s future to someone that doesn't like them very much? If you personally don't do either of those things, then why do advocate that our government should do them? How much out-of-taxpayer-pocket money will the iron ore mine costs us? Oh yeah, NOTHING! But you’d rather have the job supported/subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Yep, you’re definitely a liberal all right! As opposed to blaming Walker for something that he never wanted in first place and got stuck with, why not blame the one responsible for all the 11th hour crap contracts, Big Daddy Doyle, as pointed out more fully by J.B.? Not a very honest or fair assessment at all!
Dan B December 14, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Typical Liberal Ventriloquist, His lips are moving but his rear end is doing the talking!
Robert W Farkas December 14, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Jason, "I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth"... Unfortunately that does not apply to politics or editorials. Fine, you do not like Governor Walker, but at least make some effort to be honest. Mr. J.B. Schmidt, excellent post. Thanks.
oak creek resident December 14, 2011 at 02:37 PM
I like how Jason wears his lib protestor glasses to *try* to look intelligent. Like putting lipstick on a pig.
oak creek resident December 14, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Guys don't bother rebuking Jason's puke with logic and facts, he cannot comprehend the words that you write.
J. B. Schmidt December 14, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Lets keep it nice guys. We can't educate him if we insult him.
LP December 14, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Jason, you're free to express your opinion and one-sided facts. Why don't you go back and see what Doyle did over his years. He misappropriated (at best) funds, stole funds for road projects, dumbed down the Marquette interchange, something we're stuck with for 50 years - the curves are so bad the have to be rebuilt. What about changing the laws for young offenders, who benefited the most, his sons? Now tell me who got railroaded. To bad there aren't one-way trains out of WI. There are so many people I'd like to buy tickets for...... Have a Merry Christmas Season !
Kevin Presser December 14, 2011 at 07:53 PM
I believe it is basically dishonest to say that Gov Walker cost the state $65-$84 million in annual maintenance costs. The rationale for that stating he cost the State money is that the feds were going to pay for it. IT IS STILL TAXPAYER MONEY! Iy is not free money from the Feds. It is not Obama money. It is taxpayer money. Gov Walker was trying to save the taxpayers of the US $810 million dollars by turning down the money. Claiming the Fed money doesn't cost us anything is just plain wrong.
NoToWalkersCronies December 14, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Regarding "cherry picking" the news, a recent study showed that viewers of Fox are less informed than those who watch no news at all. That would hold true for right wing radio talking heads' audiences. All get their talking points from Frank Luntz, spin doctor extraordinaire. "Death panels", "job creators", "ground zero mosque" (community center with a mosque in it - two blocks from WTC site), "Obamacare", Madison protesters were all "bused in Union thugs" (funny, I had to walk a mile to get to the Capital every time because of the thousands of cars) .... All brought to you by Frank Luntz, puppet master. Luntz even let his mask drop on Fox when he reprimanded Hannity for using the term "public option", telling him "government option" would be a better term. A few months later a memo was sent out to Fox employees: "friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option""...."Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible." Propaganda, pure and simple. Thought police. Scott Walker has a cozy relationship with Frank Luntz as well. Walker had a meeting with him the day after he took a call from the phony Koch brother. He needed damage control talking points from "the cleaner". Apparently some people don't mind being spoon fed what they think. I mean, dear lord, Limbaugh's fans are actually proud to call themselves "ditto heads"! Lock step, people, lock step.
J. B. Schmidt December 14, 2011 at 10:37 PM
@NoTo Uuummmmm!?!?!?!?!? Nothing you just wrote about comes up either in this blog or its posts. Did you accidentally post to the wrong blog? If you actually meant to put that here, you look a little foolish.
NoToWalkersCronies December 14, 2011 at 10:58 PM
To J. B. Schmidt: From the article, right up there: "I can guarantee that you will not hear this news on 620 WTMJ or 1130. Charile Sykes and Mark Behling cherry pick info and leave right-wingers short-sighted and uninformed. Thank God for NPR and Milwaukee Public Radio."
patchreader 123 December 15, 2011 at 01:21 AM
@ Jason Patzfahl: "Charile Sykes and Mark Behling cherry pick info and leave right-wingers short-sighted and uninformed." While I take anything that Sykes and other news entertainers (both conservative and liberal) say with a grain of salt, I also take anything you write with a grain of salt. Why? Because you too "cherry pick info and leave [others] short-sighted and uninformed," as do those you criticize. This makes you the very definition of a hypocrite.
patchreader 123 December 15, 2011 at 01:34 AM
By the way, you may want to read the following articles to give the train issue some additional perspective (I cited news sources you'll likely appreciate): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45153941/ns/us_news/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/californias-high-speed-rail-system-is-going-nowhere-fast/2011/11/08/gIQAKni2IN_story.html
J. B. Schmidt December 15, 2011 at 03:10 AM
@NoTo Thanks
Bren December 15, 2011 at 04:26 AM
Thank you for reminding low-information Wisconsinites of Scott Walker's math skills. Remember how he cancelled the Blue Shirt project as County Executive and cost Milwaukee County tens of thousands of dollars? How he illegally fired security guards at the Courthouse, then hired Wackenhut at $90,000/month, a sum which had to be paid for months in addition to $500,000 in back pay for the illegally fired workers. Scott Walker cost Milwaukee County a lot of money because of his foolishness, and that's why he did not have my vote for Governor. Thanks for reminding all of us that Scott Walker is a poor choice for Wisconsin.
Bren December 15, 2011 at 04:31 AM
Mr. Hoffa, apparently you have forgotten why the federal government is having financial issues: Iraq+Afghanistan+2 rounds of George W. Bush tax cuts. Rolling back the egregious tax cuts (back to Clinton-era levels) and drawing down troops will help. The loss of the rail project isolates Wisconsin and represents a technological step backward. Hopefully Wisconsin will receive another opportunity to re-join the 21st Century after Scott Walker is recalled.
Bren December 15, 2011 at 04:33 AM
That's the right-wing way, calling out people for the very things they do themselves.
Bren December 15, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Oak Creek resident, your rapier wit never fails to impress. One wonders if these scintillating bon mots are spontaneous or the results of painstakingly laborious hours of creative literary exploration, an oak creek resident alone with "his" thoughts, a rumpled paper bag, and a crayon.
Bren December 15, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Hey NoTo, thank you for sharing this information about Frank Lutz. Fortunately increasing numbers of Wisconsinites are becoming aware of what's going on. Speaking of cherry-picking, I'd like to see some coverage about Racine's Republican Party treasurer Tom Bode being photographed and potentially charged for backing his Lexus into a recall Walker signature collection station last month. Apparently he almost ran down a retired police officer (who took photographs). According to witnesses at the scene, Bode drove around the block screaming insults then backed his Lexus into the group, with children in the vehicle. The images, with Bode's personalized license plates clearly visible, were turned over to the authorities.
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 05:33 AM
@Bren - Are you adding yet another conspiracy theory to your dossier? As if the constant droning on and on about the Koch Bros wasn't enough, you're now adding conservative pollster Frank Luntz to your 'boogeyman' list? What does Tom Bode have to do with the commentary or any of the posted comments? Try nothing at all! So why even bring it up here other than to attempt to agitate or spread your leftist propaganda? And how do you know that the event went down as the recallers claimed it did, as Bode’s accounting of those events, as relayed to the media via the Republican Party of Racine County, was extremely different than the version offered by the very liberal recallers? A true independent wouldn’t trust either side over the other without being able to effectively weigh the credibility of both sides. In the story, the only independently confirmable fact was whether or not the recallers even had permission to be on Emil Infussino’s property in the first place. Both sides gave a contradictory assertion on this matter and Emil has yet to speak to the press about it. So unless you have some kind of inside with Emil and personally asked him for the truth, you have no way, as a true independent, to assess the credibility of the parties in this story. But alas, you’ve already drawn your conclusion based on ZERO independent evidence.
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 05:33 AM
For a declared and supposed independent, all you ever do is trash conservatives while trusting in liberals. Give it up Bren, as you are nothing more than the partisan HACK I first called you out on being long ago!
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 05:39 AM
@Bren - Would a true independent characterize negative behavior as being overall indicative of "the right-wing way?" You have now been exposed as the true liberal that you are time and again, so why don't you just admit to it already?
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 05:58 AM
@Bren - Did you conveniently forget about the Obama extension of the Bush tax cuts? Or how Obama didn’t end the wars as quickly as he promised he would when campaigning? Even under Clinton, we had debt/GDP spending by the federal government of 66.1% (start of his first term in 1993) to 56.4% (end of his second term Jan 2000), and the reduction in spending can be largely attributed to Newt Gingrich and the congressional Republican’s Contract with America. Bush’s spending ranged from 56.4% (start of his first term in 2000) to 84.2% (end of his second term Jan 2009). And in just under three years, Obama went from 84.2% to 99.6% and climbing! So, even with the Bush tax cuts in place, if we went back to Clinton era spending, it would be a far bigger fix than just sun-setting the Bush tax cuts, wouldn’t it be? And even under the Bush tax cuts, the top 1% still account for 40% of the fed’s revenue stream, while the top 10% account for 60%. Those numbers come direct from the Department of Revenue. So how much more do you want the wealthy to pay so almost half don't have to pay anything at all? Is that honestly the epitome of fairness in Bren's world? Admittedly, as I can do as a TRUE independent, Reagan was the one who started all of this out-of-control spending by the fed. He was not a very good fiscal conservative. Obviously, the fed doesn’t have a revenue problem, but rather a spending problem!
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 06:14 AM
@Bren – 1) What does any of this have to do with the light-rail project, which was the emphasis of both the original commentary and J.B.'s post? Once again, you're doing nothing but spreading leftist propaganda in an attempt to agitate, and yet you have the nerve to claim to be an independent. Please, you're nothing but a joke and a hypocritical partisan hack when you do this, so just admit your bias already! 2) Walker never claimed to be perfect while he was Milwaukee Co Exec. In fact, during his campaign for governor, he said that he would transition what he learned while Exec so that when he became governor he hopefully wouldn't make the same kind of mistakes again while enacting the good things that worked while serving at that post. Is it any coincidence that both Barrett and Abele have used the provisions of Act 10 to balance their budgets or that Abele is basically staying the course that Walker set the county on? Come on Bren, be honest here! 3) Remember how Walker gave back approximately $.5M in salary and benefits when he was Milwaukee Co Exec? What current state Democratic lawmakers have ever done anything like this? Instead of using a balanced approach to your off topic tirade, as a true independent would do, again all you have done here is trash conservatives while trusting in liberals.
James R Hoffa December 15, 2011 at 06:15 AM
4) And you think that Tom Barrett would have made a better governor despite all of his "foolishness" that cost the City of Milwaukee a lot of money? So exactly what independent or third party candidate did you vote for in the gubernatorial election?
NoToWalkersCronies December 15, 2011 at 07:20 AM
@Bren: I know about the Tom Bode incident, but I doubt it is common knowledge in these parts. Hopefully justice will prevail, but if the Prosser he said/she said choking incident is any indication, I have my doubts. I have recently personally been shown not to put much trust into those that are paid to protect us...
Lyle Ruble December 18, 2011 at 04:46 PM
@J. B. Schmidt...I find it curious that arguments are now centering on what jobs are acceptable and which ones are not. I don't remember that Tommy Thompson ever argued against the High Speed Rail, but in fact supported it. At the time that Doyle was able lure Talgo to build their facility here, it was counted as a coup with the promise of continuing jobs and expansion. Walker made a feeble attempt to get the earmarked funds and divert them after killing the agreement. The governor was either extremely naive or just plain foolish. I suspect the latter to be the case. I look at the arguments and it's meaningless to rehash the past events. What has happened, happened. Continuing costs associated with the governor's decision is something we have to accept and pay. Statements made about how Walker has had to clean up Doyle's actions shouldn't be news to anyone. Doyle had to clean up Thompson/McCallum messes. This is simply S.O.P.
J. B. Schmidt December 18, 2011 at 07:59 PM
@Lyle If the past is the past, then please explain the recall? If what Doyle did is meaningless and can't be counted against current decisions, then lets close the door on the removal of collective bargaining priviledges. I am against any train decision. Our transportation cuture is not designed to run around trains. This is easily pointed out in California's money pit and the fact that no other train in other states is successfull. (success to be termined by self sustainability) Thompson has more liberal tendencies then people like to admit. He was also blessed with much higher tax revenue then Doyle. The economy was dying when he attempted to push the train through. His building costs were not accurate (see California's money pit) and the future cost of maintence were undercalculated (see every other train system). I am choosing jobs based on their ability to help the economy. Public sector jobs are a drain on the economy. Talgo only brought 80 jobs to the economy, at what sarcrifise? Doyle completely ignored wisconsin comapnies like Super Steel who never got the opportunity to bid. As for Walker's decision. I find it funny, that he was attacked for not taking the money and attacked for trying taking some of the money. Liberals will attack him for anything; therefore your comments as to his mindset in making the decision are poinltess. Yes, Doyle started with a deficit and did abolutely nothing to solve it in 8 years.

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