Back and forth on debt restructuring

From Governor Scott Walker‘s office:

One component of Governor Walker’s budget repair bill is debt refinancing, which will save taxpayers $165 million in fiscal year 2011. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if Senate Democrats refuse to return to Wisconsin and cast their votes in the next day the option to refinance a portion of the state’s debt will be off the table.

Along with this notice Governor Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, released the following statement:

“Senate Democrats claimed they fled the state to slow down the process so the public had enough time to learn about the budget repair bill. If that was their true intention, they have been successful.

Now they have one day to return to work before the state loses out on the chance to refinance debt, saving taxpayers $165 million this fiscal year. Failure to return to work and cast their votes will lead to more painful and aggressive spending cuts in the very near future.”

This is the Senate Democrats’ 24 hour notice.

But state Representative Mark Pocan, a Madison Democrat and the former legislative budget committee co-chair, cites a new memo (PDF) released today by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, showing that the plan to restructure $165 million in current debt would cost taxpayers $42 million over ten years in new debt.

“Walker is using a continuously changing debt restructuring deadline as a hook to pass his bill. Walker already lied to the public, admitted a plan to trick the Senate Democrats and regularly dismisses the media without taking questions. Whether people choose to believe another unsubstantiated Walker statement that today is the deadline to approve the debt restructuring or not, the real issue should be if the bank will even agree to the loan. My guess is the bank might not look favorably upon agreeing to the loan, considering the bill’s potentially illegal passage in the Assembly.”

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