Senator Vinehout to JFC Co-Chairs: Wisconsin must Deal with Increasing Debt

Madison -Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) called on the Finance Committee Co-Chairs to address recent state actions made to avoid paying debt payments coming due.

“The speed and size of the delay of debt payments is unprecedented in Wisconsin’s history,” said Vinehout, who serves as the ranking minority member of the Joint Committee on Audit. “I am most concerned about the future financial health of the state if debt continues to be delayed at this pace.”

In the past year, the administration has issued additional debt to avoid payments on approximately $558.3 million in principal that would have otherwise been paid off.

Vinehout asked the Co-Chairs to address the following:

  • How does avoiding these payments affect the structural deficit in the coming budget years?
  • How will these actions affect the long term financial health of the state?
  • Why is the administration delaying debt payments at a time when they claim revenue numbers are improving?

“There is a conflict between the popular wisdom the state budget is balanced and the bills are paid and the reality that the state has not paid over half a billion dollars in debt payments coming due,” Vinehout wrote to the Co-Chairs.

“If we want to have an honest discussion about how to move our state forward and cure our financial woes, we must have an honest discussion of what’s happening right now and how these actions affect our financial future,” Vinehout concluded.