WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/19/2010) - Wisconsin State Senate Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) is upset with accusations leveled at Democrats by Republican State Senator Scott Fitzgerald (Juneau). Fitzgerald says Democrats are raiding millions of dollars from the State Transportation Fund to use on what he calls Pet Projects, including fish fries. Senator Decker suggests that Fitzgerald should start using real facts, backed up with proof, if he can. The hub bub seems to be over a recent report on a Madison television station.
Madison's WISC-TV 3 revealed that Governor Doyleís Department of Transportation is using gas tax money to pay for "free" fish fries and child care as a way to entice attendees to a Madison meeting on a road project expansion.
"In the 2009-2011 budget, Wisconsin Democrats raided $205.5 million from the transportation fund and diverted the money to their pet projects," Senator Scott Fitzgerald stated in response to the report.
"The transportation fund, which is supported by the gas tax, is statutorily required to be used only for state road projects," Fitzgerald said.
"It is incredible that Democrats are continuing to raid road funds and now itís being used to pay for things like fish fries and child care. Once again, they have proven that they think the gas tax is their private slush fund to pay for anything they want," Republican Senator Fitzgerald continued.
"Democratsí bad budgeting has already caused Wisconsin to be listed in the top 10 states facing fiscal collapse," Fitzgerald claims.
"Itís no wonder that our fiscal ranking is so poor when the Democrats donít use common-sense budgeting techniques, whether it was funding millions of dollars of pork projects in the last budget or using gas tax money for fish fries," Fitzgerald said.
"These frivolous spending decisions have created the budget deficit that is now facing our state," Senator Fitzgerald added.
"We are heading towards a budgeting nightmare when bills come due in the next budget cycle. Something smells, and itís not the fish," Fitzgerald quipped.
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) called on the Republicans to start using actual facts when talking about the Transportation Fund and produce the memo that backs up their claims about what was actually transferred out of the fund in the budget bill that passed.
Senator Decker says Republicans themselves have a history of raiding the transportation fund over and over again.
"In fact, the transportation fund is still hurting from some of their budget moves in the past, so now they are making up numbers about what happened in this budget to hide what they did," Senator Decker said.
"Republicans were in complete control of the entire legislature for the 2003-2005 budget and they transferred $675 million out of the Transportation Fund," Decker pointed out.
"They were also in complete control of the entire legislature for the 2005-2007 budget and they transferred $427 million out of the Transportation fund," Senator Decker went on.
"Over $1 billion was transferred out of the transportation fund while the Republicans were in complete control of the legislature," Decker says.
"The only money that came out of the Transportation Fund in this budget was the cuts that every agency had to make to balance the budget," Decker asserts.
"And we put in extra protections in the budget to make sure that the cuts made to the DOT did not impact road projects and every Republican voted against that," Decker explained.
"The new-found interest in protecting the Transportation Fund is welcome, but it cannot get rid of the fact that the Republicans did long-term damage to the fund when they were in control of the legislature," Decker concluded.