MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. House delegation has given fellow Republican and Gov.-elect Scott Walker a new option in his effort to kill the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development high speed rail would bring to Wisconsin: Pay for one thousandth of one percent of the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest top two percent of income earners.
“What a great solution – destroy high speed rail to pay one-thousandth of one percent of the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Considering the Bush tax cuts for the rich created the economic collapse that cost us millions of jobs, the Republicans see these tax breaks as the gift that keeps on taking.”
Since his election, Walker has tried to backtrack from his original call to kill the federally-funded high speed rail project, which could create billions of dollars of economic development in Wisconsin and create as many as 13,000 jobs in the state. Walker has been thwarted in his ill-advised effort to transfer the money to road construction. In an attempt to help Walker, GOP U.S. House Reps. Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri announced their intention to author a bill calling for potentially-returned federal funding for the program to go towards deficit reduction.
House Republicans have also called for extension of the Bush tax cuts to the richest top two percent, at a cost well over $700 billion. Republicans have held hostage efforts to extend tax cuts to the other 98 percent of income earners.
“The only thing worse than killing high speed rail and the jobs it would create would be doing it to pay for tax cuts for the rich,” said Ross. “The irony is that Scott Walker won’t say how he’s going to pay for his plan for $5 billion in state tax breaks, loopholes and shifts for the rich and big business, but he will sacrifice thousands of jobs by helping the federal government make a tiny downpayment to give millionaire Ron Johnson more Bush tax cuts.”
More than 6,000 people have signed on to One Wisconsin Now’s letter to Walker urging him to ‘Save the Train’ and keep thousands of jobs in Wisconsin.