Government and Political News: Dems Gov candidate debate in RacineWisconsin News
-- The four Democrats running in the recall election against Governor Scott Walker will hold another forum tonight.
The four Democrats running in the recall election against Governor Scott Walker will hold another forum tonight. Wisconsin Jobs Now is holding the event in Racine. Organizer Todd Stoner says audience members will have a chance to ask questions. And then Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, Kathleen Vinehout, and Doug La Follette will each have a minute to answer each question. They’re squaring off in the May eighth primary, and the winner will face the Republican Walker on June fifth. Also appearing tonight, is former Senator John Lehman. He’s running against the Republican incumbent who beat him in 2010, Senator Van Wanggaard.
The two Democrats with the most support in the governor’s recall election have said the least about where they’d get the money to keep their promises. Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk have been the most vocal about criticizing Scott Walker’s multi-million-dollar cuts to public schools, local governments, and health coverage for the poor. Falk, the former Dane County executive, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she won’t promise any level of funding or taxation. And she’s only focusing on her priorities at the moment, which are propping up school funding. Both candidates have talked about rolling back some of the Republican Walker’s corporate tax breaks. Falk has specifically mentioned a reversal of the tax break for multi-state corporations – and she’d give the money to technical schools. Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor, says nobody knows how much will be needed. If elected in June, Barrett says he’d focus on creating jobs to create more tax revenues – and then work to un-do the Walker cuts in the next budget a year from now. The Walker camp says Democrats are trying to have it both ways by slamming the governor’s budget while not offering their own. Two other Democrats have been more specific. Secretary-of-State Doug La Follette calls for a one-percent sales tax increase for public schools. Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma says she’d roll back Walker’s tax changes and seek immediate emergency funding for schools.
A dozen Wisconsin banks still owe the federal government 221-million dollars in bailout funds. And a new report says six of those banks are behind on dividend payments to Washington, in return for capital investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The firm of Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods says Wisconsin banks still owe just under two-percent of the nearly 12-billion dollars in TARP bailout funds given at the height of the Great Recession. Madison’s Anchor Bank owes the most, and is almost 17-million dollars behind on dividend payments to the U-S Treasury. The five other banks behind on their dividends are Mid-Wisconsin Bank of Medford, the Bank of Kaukauna, Securant Bank-and-Trust of Milwaukee, Community First Bank of Boscobel, and Ridgestone Bank of Brookfield. They’re behind anywhere from 200-thousand-dollars to one-and-a-half million in dividend payments. Jon Bruss of a capital management firm in Hartland said many banks which took the bailout money expected the fiscal climate to recover faster than it has. In his words, “All of us to some degree have been prisoners of hope.”