Afternoon News Brief: Man found dead in a vacant burning homeWisconsin News
-- Milwaukee Police said today that a man found dead in a vacant burning home was shot several times.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Police said today that a man found dead in a vacant burning home was shot several times. Officials say they now consider the death of 39 year old Marlon Booker as a homicide. Fire fighters were called to the burning house early yesterday morning, and found Booker’s body there. Fire officials said the house was owned by a bank. Two police officers reported the blaze after smelling smoke. But they still don’t have suspects – and they were asking the public for help today in solving the case.
The state government is getting less tax revenue than expected. And because of that, the current state budget is projected to have a $143 million dollar deficit by the time it expires next June. That figure was announced today by the non partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau which estimated only last fall that the budget would end with a $73 million dollar surplus. The head of the Fiscal Bureau, Robert Lang, told lawmakers that Governor Scott Walker’s administration hopes to resolve the new deficit by refinancing debt and other restructuring. The Legislature might have to pass a budget repair bill while the governor, lieutenant governor, and four majority GOP senators all face possible recall elections this summer. The Republican Walker has campaigned on a budget that was previously balanced, saying he and lawmakers eliminated a huge deficit without raising taxes or laying off public workers. In a statement late this morning, Walker said the current fiscal year would end with a surplus. But that’s only halfway through the 2 year budget period. Walker vowed to balance the total budget without tax hikes, while continuing to add jobs. He also compared Wisconsin to Illinois’ tax increases from last year and $2 billion dollars in Medicaid cuts and a large tax hike in Maryland which included an 18-cent gas tax hike.
Wisconsin’s Republican US senator told fellow conservatives today that President Obama is quote, “not someone we can compromise with.” Ron Johnson told the Conservative Political Action Conference that the Democrat Obama is not working with Republicans in good faith on solving the nation’s fiscal problems. Johnson said Washington’s spending trends were not far behind Greece and Italy. And he followed that by saying quote, “Congratulations America – We have arrived at the lower level of European socialism.” The 3 day conference is the largest annual gathering of US conservatives. Besides the speeches, there are panel discussions and one of them today dealt with the efforts by Wisconsin and Ohio to reduce collective bargaining for public union workers. A referendum in Ohio struck down that state’s effort but a similar effort was approved in Wisconsin, and was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court. Vincent Vernuccio of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said quote, “The unions are going after Governor Walker because they’re seeing their entrenchment coming under attack.” House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville is scheduled to speak to the conservative conference tonight. Governor Scott Walker will address the group tomorrow night.
Governor Scott Walker says a budget repair bill will not be needed to eliminate a new deficit in the current state budget of $143 million dollars. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said today that tax collections have dropped and those revenues are projected to be $273 million dollars less than expected by the time the current budget expires in June of next year. The Associated Press quoted the Republican Walker as saying he would not have the Legislature pass an emergency budget repair bill. Walker and five other GOP elected officials face possible recall elections this summer. Walker did not say how he would address the projected shortfall. Fiscal Bureau director Robert Lang told lawmakers that Walker’s administration is looking at refinancing debt and other restructuring to put the budget back in balance. And Lang says a full blown budget repair bill will not be needed. In a statement, Walker vowed that the budget would not be in a deficit during the current fiscal year, halfway through the two year budget period. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and his brother, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said they remain committed to solving the budget without tax increases. Both said tax hikes would only make Wisconsin’s business climate worse and the GOP would continue to quote, “keep focusing on growing jobs, not the government.” Assembly Democratic leader Peter Barca blamed the deficit on quote, “irresponsible budgeting and a lack of serious focus on jobs and the economy.”