Sunday, December 14, 2014

Attention WI taxpayers: Your Governor's ideology is costing you $$

Wrong-Way Walker and his Wisconsin legislative allies would have you believe they are strict conservatives who save you money, but look a little closer at what their ideology and tactics cost you and me:

* Hundreds of millions of dollars billed to Wisconsin taxpayers because Walker, preferring to pick a fight with President Obama, rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid coverages. It's the same kind of politics-first move he made when he blocked federal Amtrak expansion (see item below) - - pleasing his right-wing base, but costing the public money and services.

*  Defending challenges to the secretive redistricting scheme Republicans had trouble getting past a federal judge, as well implementing the even-more-secretive Act 10 "bomb" dropped on public employees cost together ran up legal bills of more than $3 million.

*  Walker and outgoing Attorney General J. B.Van Hollen fought what they knew was a losing legal battle against a tide of tolerance of same-sex marriage, and after the Walkerites' predictable courtroom losses, a legal bill is due the winners' lawyers of over a million dollars

And that's on top of the numerous hours of state lawyers' time not available to other cases or issues.

* Claims are also piling up against the state by freight lines for some rail line improvements made, but mooted, by cancellation of the Madison-Milwaukee Amtrak passenger line that Walker made the centerpiece of his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

And those claims pale in comparison to the potential cost to taxpayers of a lawsuit brought against the state by Talgo, the company which the state awarded a contract to assemble and maintain passenger trains Walker prevented from operating here:
After the state of Wisconsin commissioned the trains from Talgo in 2009 for the Hiawatha line between Chicago and Milwaukee and ultimately spent $52 million on them, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican administration clashed with the company, canceling a maintenance contract and disputing testing costs in 2012.  
The state halted payments, eventually leading Talgo to end the contract. 
Talgo then sued the state in Dane County Circuit Court, asking a judge to declare that it properly terminated its contract. The suit is ongoing, but if Talgo wins, it will keep the trains and the tens of millions of dollars the state already has paid the firm. 
However, Lester Pines, Talgo's attorney, said there was no dispute that Talgo owns the trains, and he expects the lawsuit to be resolved soon. The company has an obligation to try to sell the trains and mitigate its damages from the state's alleged breach of contract, he said. 
"The state breached the contract and doesn't want the trains," Pines said. "They're Talgo's trains, and Talgo is the damaged party."
Taxpayers also lose when they are forced into court to fight voter suppression, or have to hire attorneys to force a state agency like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to do basic water law enforcement job because the DNR puts Walker's 'chamber-of-commerce' environmental disregard over the public interest.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for talking about this. I have been wondering for a long time how much all of these lawsuits are costing the taxpayer. I think you have just scratched the surface though. Those costs will continue to mount. Considering all of the lawsuits I have also wondered how any of this helps the state of Wisconsin. What do we gain by any of this? Our state needs smarter people running it who aren't obsessed with ideological interests.

Anonymous said...

What we need is a governor and a legislature that puts people first, ideology last and special interests and their lobbyists on the outside looking in.