(MADISON) Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Ranking Democrat of the Joint Committee on Finance, today joined the call from Milwaukee leaders, including Mayor Tom Barrett, for the return of raided foreclosure funds from the national mortgage settlement. Earlier this year, Governor Walker and Attorney General JB Van Hollen raided almost 26 million dollars from the settlement to put towards a budget deficit. Now, with the unusual and politically created budget surplus the Governor is claiming, Taylor joined the call for Walker and Van Hollen to return the money they raided from the settlement.
“Since Governor Walker is using budget gimmicks to claim a surplus in the state budget, it is time for him to repay the money he raided from the mortgage settlement,” Taylor stated. “You cannot claim a surplus and expect Wisconsin citizens struggling with foreclosures to believe you if you won’t give the money back. This settlement should be used for programs in the hardest hit areas of Wisconsin to keep people in their homes.”
The national foreclosure settlement was announced early in 2012. Almost immediately Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen used the windfall of one-time cash to help ease the budget deficit that Republicans presided over. Senate Democrats, led by Senator Taylor, pushed legislation to prevent the raid but all 17 Senate Republicans voted to allow the funds to be raided (SA1–SB284 2/14/12). Taylor today noted that Republican senators should ask the money to be returned.
“All the Republican Senators who believe in fiscal responsibility should be the first to step up and demand the return of these funds to citizens affected by foreclosure. Republicans already voted once to approve this raid of foreclosure prevention funds. They need not be silent now when it matters for people who are losing their homes.” Taylor concluded.
Mayor Barrett issued a letter to the Governor and Attorney General prompting the call for a return of the funding earlier today. Taylor had long opposed the transfer of the funds and worked with the Mayor in early February to ask that Milwaukee be prioritized in the use of these funds before the settlement was raided.