State Government and Political News: Ryan mum about futureWisconsin News
-- 2016? Don’t go there, says Paul Ryan. The House Budget Chairman from Janesville is already being touted by many Republicans who want to see Ryan at the top of the ticket next time. But in a series of media interviews yesterday, Ryan said almost everybody’s tired of presidential politics – and he won’t stir the pot by talking about it right now.
WASHINGTON D.C - 2016? Don’t go there, says Paul Ryan. The House Budget Chairman from Janesville is already being touted by many Republicans who want to see Ryan at the top of the ticket next time. But in a series of media interviews yesterday, Ryan said almost everybody’s tired of presidential politics – and he won’t stir the pot by talking about it right now.
Ryan lost his first election last week, when President Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney and his Wisconsin running mate. Even after a week, Ryan still calls it a “foreign experience” that’s tough to describe. But his tireless campaigning scored high marks from Republicans – and his relative youth helped him. The 42-year-old Ryan was the first Generation-“X” candidate on a major presidential ticket. Ryan was re-elected to his House seat. But Kenosha Democrat Rob Zerban took advantage of Ryan’s absence during much of the fall campaign, by getting to within 11-and-a-half points of winning. That was Ryan’s smallest victory margin in his eight House campaigns – and he lost in his home town of Janesville in both his presidential and congressional races.
A week after losing the vice presidency, Janesville Republican Paul Ryan says he’s ready to return to Congress, and be part of the solution to the federal budget problems. But in a wide-ranging interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the House Budget chairman said he was disappointed that his and Mitt Romney’s ideas for getting ahead of the nation’s fiscal problems quote, “didn’t go our way.” Ryan’s long-standing plans to reform Medicare got considerable criticism from seniors and others during the campaign. And he says two more years of a divided government – with a Democratic White House and Senate, and a Republican House – leaves him quote, “extremely worried” about the nation’s debt, its military, and its health care system. Ryan said the country is just as divided – and the two parties will have to find a way to make their split system work because the fiscal issues are quote, “getting worse, not better, because of time.” As for the current fiscal mess – with automatic spending cuts and tax hikes looming on January first – Ryan says both parties need to put out specific plans that can be negotiated, and the Democrats haven’t done that. Ryan said Republicans want to quote, “fix this in a way that doesn’t hurt the economy.”
Governor Scott Walker’s office says a new school funding plan will be considered along with what other agencies want, before Walker submits his next budget to the Legislature. State public school Superintendent Tony Evers yesterday proposed an additional $615-million for schools over the next two years. Overall school aid would go up two-point-four percent in the next school year, and five-and-a-half percent for the year after that. Almost $50-million would go toward targeted goals like boosting graduation rates and helping rural schools. Evers proposed a similar plan two years ago – but it never went anywhere, due to a $3.6 billion state budget deficit. The deficit’s gone, but the Republican Walker says the budget outlook remains tight. And like two years ago, Evers wants to pay for much of the plan by taking away a credit that’s placed on local property tax bills. Even with the increased funding, Evers maintains that net property taxes would not go up.
Wisconsin state Assembly members will choose their new party leaders today. Rep. Robin Vos of Burlington is expected to be chosen by his fellow Republicans as the next speaker. No one has been publicly said they would run against Vos, who co-chaired the Joint Finance Committee in the last session. He’ll replace Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon, who gave up his Assembly seat when he ran for the U.S. Senate earlier this year. Abbotsford Republican Scott Suder is expected to win another term as the Assembly majority leader – and the same goes for Waukesha Republican Bill Kramer as the speaker pro-tem. Neither has declared opposition. Democrats are expected to re-name Kenosha’s Peter Barca as their minority leader. The GOP maintained around a 20-vote majority in the Assembly after last week’s elections.
State officials say the latest consumer scam involves people who’ve lost thousands-of-dollars buying boats advertised on Craigslist. According to the state’s consumer protection agency, buyers are asked to transfer money to an escrow account – and the money then goes to an overseas scammer. Wisconsin officials said an Illinois buyer lost $20,000 by answering a Craigslist ad about a boat-for-sale in the Badger State. And a Tennessee buyer obtained a fraudulent boat title just before getting wise to the scam, and backing out of a payment. State officials say you should always remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Other warning signs including being asked to pay into an escrow account with a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card. Also, those who say Craigslist offers buyer protections are wrong. More information is available from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.