Highways Issue Will Hurt Republicans
Democrats used LFB report to eviscerate GOP record at legislative hearing.
If control of the Wisconsin Senate flips in November, Exhibit A as to why was on full display at the Joint Finance committee yesterday.
Look no further than state Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green). His decision to vote against the committee’s GOP majority on decisions involving the I-94 North-South project and other highway issues speaks volumes. Marklein faces a demanding re-election campaign. As in many other districts throughout the state, poor roads in SW Wisconsin are a big deal. Observers from both parties who are close to this week’s two special elections agree that transportation problems were the number one or two issue.
(Full disclosure: I watched only a portion of the hearing. It was such a beat down I felt little need to watch Republicans try to deal with the lousy hand dealt to them by Governor Scott Walker.)
The tone was set from the get-go. Democratic State Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison used a lengthy report from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau to pose politically damaging charges — in the form of leading questions — to the LFB analyst. His low-key responses basically confirmed Taylor’s narrative, namely that out-state roads are in poor condition and tens of millions that could be used to address the problem have been re-allocated to work involving Foxconn. The LFB data allowed Taylor to eviscerate the GOP record under Walker on transportation.
It’s a record “highlighted” by more roads in poor condition, a doubling of highway debt service, and the basic unraveling of a bipartisan commitment to rebuild Eisenhower-era freeways that are unsafe and at the end of their useful lives. It’s a record of ignoring reports from not one, not two, but three qualified commissions who looked at the state’s transportation financing challenges. The most recent of those reports was authored by a panel created with Scott Walker’s signature.
Democratic Rep. Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point reinforced Taylor’s presentation with fact-based examples, offered in obviously political terms, that could not be refuted.
Nygren’s position was particularly challenging inasmuch as he understands the broad issue quite well. He’s one of a group of Republican legislators who have argued unsuccessfully about the need to address the obvious, indisputable gap between current law revenue and needed spending.
Yours truly gets enough predictions wrong that it’s only fair to say “I told you so” when the opportunity arises. Writing more than two years ago at RightWisconsin I observed that Republicans would “own” this issue in 2018 if they failed to act. At the end of 2017 one of my predictions for this year was that “state Democrats will score points by highlighting delays in out-state road work due to Foxconn.”
It gives me no pleasure to be right in both cases, and to see Republicans at the brink on this issue. I have been an active campaign worker and contributor for more than two decades, with most of my energy and time going to Republican candidates. That commitment makes it all the more difficult to watch the GOP effectively abdicate responsibility for a basic governmental service.
- Hintz Doubts Foxconn Electric Car Project - Corri Hess - Mar 2nd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: The Foxconn Real Estate Show - Bruce Murphy - Feb 25th, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: Local Costs for Foxconn Cut By 2% - Bruce Murphy - Feb 8th, 2021
- Foxconn Sued for Breach of Contract - Corri Hess - Feb 4th, 2021
- Vos and Wanggaard Continue to Gaslight Public on Foxconn Development - A Better Mt. Pleasant - Feb 3rd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: Robin Vos Will Solve Foxconn Fiasco - Bruce Murphy - Feb 2nd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: 9 Reasons a New Foxconn Contract Is Unlikely - Bruce Murphy - Dec 21st, 2020
- Audit Says Foxconn Loophole Needs a Fix - Corri Hess - Dec 9th, 2020
- Back in the News: Residents Outraged by Foxconn Fiasco - Bruce Murphy - Dec 8th, 2020
- Back in the News: Foxconn Landing Google Contract? - Bruce Murphy - Nov 23rd, 2020
Read more about Foxconn Facility here