Weighing in on Wisconsin deficit and Madison uproar

When I ran against Jim Doyle as the reform party candidate for governor of Wisconsin a few years ago, I suggested tapping the Wisconsin Investment fund, then consisting of some 64 billion dollars, to temporarily cover the deficit.  I said “temporarily”.  To be paid back with interest.

This suggestion, made on Wisconsin Public Radio, resulted in an uproar by public employees and front runner Democrat Jim Doyle, because the Investment fund was considered sacred and untouchable.  It was shocking even to Wisconsin Public Radio.

It was ironic to then discover this sacred fund was being used to invest in Enron.  You read that right.  Enron.  The ultimate “loser”.

In view of the uproar in Madison, Wisconsin today about Governor Walker’s measures to bring the deficit under control, the state employees and those so well-protected under the Wisconsin Retirement Investment Trust fund should take note that there now is some 77 billion dollars sitting in that fund while Wisconsin has a problem.  Do the measures taken by Gov. Scott Walker go far enough in solving the financial crisis?

I never suggested, as former Governor Doyle had claimed, to take money out of the Investment fund and not pay it back.  I suggested to use the funds as a temporary measure while bringing state government spending under control and reaching a level of recovery.  Afterward, the used moneys would be paid back with interest.

Surely Enron did not return a dime of the moneys invested to the sacred Investment fund.

Bill Rebane

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