(MADISON) – Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, and twenty-six other legislators have called on Governor Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen for the return of $ 25.6 million in foreclosure settlement monies raided earlier this year for the state budget. Taylor and her colleagues noted that the funds were not used in the intended manner of the settlement funds. Instead, the funds were used to plug a state budget deficit which has since become a surplus.
Taylor has noted that the return of the foreclosure funds is a moral imperative. “This money, taken as a result a lawsuit around corrupt mortgage practices, belongs to the families of Wisconsin affected by foreclosure. It should not have been used to balance the budget earlier this year and most certainly should not be greedily hoarded to inflate the state’s checkbook. This action and the as of yet, failure to return the funds is the most brazen, arrogant raid of funds to date by this administration.”
The legislators wrote: “We call on you both to restore the 25.6 million dollars to the settlement funds and allocate the resources in the spirit and intention of the settlement – namely to mitigate foreclosures and the crippling effect they have had on our economy…Given the budget balance, we know that using the $25.6 million for foreclosures, as the settlement called for, would not harm our state’s fiscal condition. Just as you unilaterally decided to not use the settlement for foreclosure mitigation, we request you make the same unilateral decision to move the money back to fighting foreclosures.”
The letter comes from representatives across the state as foreclosures hit the Wisconsin economy hard. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families estimated that foreclosures have affected enough Wisconsin children to more than fill Lambeau Field, almost 78,000 children. The letter to the Governor and Attorney General closes by pointing to the families affected by foreclosure; “The state budget does not need $25.6 million. Families in Wisconsin fighting foreclosures do. Please make the right decision to support those families.”