McCallum deserves re-election
Sept. 6, 2002
How to solve the state’s budget shortfall is THE critical issue that Wisconsin’s next governor will have to resolve. One of the big issues on the table for solving that deficit will be construction spending. Whether it is the two-thirds funding for school construction, shared revenue to local governments, state building projects or roads and bridges, every construction dollar will be closely scrutinized.
There are several philosophies on construction spending in times of revenue shortfalls. One philosophy is to eliminate new construction spending all together because it costs money, and we just don’t have enough money right now. Another philosophy, which the Associated General Contractors supports, is that new construction spending is a vital component of a long-term plan to get us out of the economic recession that has caused the budget deficit in the first place.
According to AGC of Wisconsin Executive Vice President Robert Barker, "Not only does investing in new schools, public buildings, roads and bridges provide the immediate benefit of creating high-paying, family supporting, income-tax-paying wages, but they provide the infrastructure necessary for long-term growth." In addition, Barker said that "our next governor needs to realize the fact that for every one dollar of construction spending, there is a 2.2 multiplier effect of economic stimulus to Wisconsin’s economy. This economic ripple effect created over $24 billion of economic activity for Wisconsin in 2001."
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Republican Gov. Scott McCallum’s overall campaign theme is Building Wisconsin. He backs that up by saying "a solid infrastructure is an important aspect of economic growth. I set a priority of not raising taxes and continuing to invest in what will take us out of the downturn."
Strong infrastructure investment also has the support of the leading Democrat, Attorney General Jim Doyle, who recently echoed the governor’s philosophy when he said, "Wisconsin has to keep building. That’s what we do well. If we come out of this downturn with crumbling roads and without investing in building, it will make it harder to come out of this." Doyle continued, "If we just shrink into a shell … this budget crisis will take its toll on infrastructure. We’re going to go farther and farther down. We have to focus as a state on infrastructure."
Barker agreed with both of them, "We realize that the state must be careful and spend the taxpayers’ money wisely, but eliminating or severely cutting back investments in our infrastructure is unnecessary and shortsighted. Barker added, "Because of his strong support for the construction industry, AGC of Wisconsin has endorsed Scott McCallum for re-election. Whoever becomes our next governor must not be panicked into unwise short-term budget slashing. Instead, he or she must be committed to building Wisconsin’s future by investing in our state and our people."
AGC of Wisconsin is one of 101 chapters of the AGC of America. The chapter provides its 250 members with a comprehensive array of educational, safety, legal, environmental, legislative, public relations, labor relations and industry relations services and is the recognized leader of the construction industry in the state of Wisconsin.
AGC of Wisconsin
Government Affairs Director