Jobs are the top concern for people all across our region. The accelerated building program included in the 2010 county budget does a great deal to help jumpstart the local economy with a $208.4 million investment in capital projects.
Our Milwaukee County Works program includes support for 100 projects that will provide some 1,000 jobs. Many of these jobs are in areas hit hardest by the global recession – like construction, architecture and engineering.
Instead of just creating new projects, we reviewed our five-year plan and included items set for 2010, 2011 and 2012 in the 2010 budget. This allows us to take advantage of the Build America Bonds that provide lower rates than traditional bonds. Overall, we expect to save up to $3 million in interest payments.
And our plan calls for maintaining our caps on debt. In 2012, the outstanding debt for Milwaukee County will be 28% lower than in 2002.
Remove the accelerated building plan from the budget I proposed and you will find that overall county spending went down by .6 percent. To protect residents and jobs, we controlled spending to hold the line on the property tax levy.
Finally, there was a great deal of talk about "stimulus" money earlier this year. In January, I set out clear criteria for taking any of these funds:
- No local match requirement.
- No ongoing concern.
- No using the funds for operating budgets.
Our Milwaukee County Works program meets that criteria.
The members of the Milwaukee County Board approved the accelerated building plan as part of the 2010 capital budget. Once completed, our Milwaukee County Works plan will provide three-times as many jobs as normal in 2010, lower our interest payments on the bonds by $3 million and reduce our outstanding debt by 28 percent by 2012. This sounds like a financially sound way to truly "stimulate" the economy.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is a candidate to be governor of Wisconsin.