In 2013, lawmakers agreed in the budget bill to give Gov. Scott Walker broad authority to sell state land and buildings to pay off state loans, but the program has only been used in one deal that had already been in the works for years before.
In that deal the state has approved selling two state properties, both connected to the same development to replace the state Department of Transportation headquarters. In that case, the $13.1 million from those two sales is mostly being used to hold down new debt on the massive project on Madison’s west side.
In a June 2014 memo to the state Building Commission, the Walker administrationlisted 10 possible properties to sell, including: a hangar at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison; the now-closed youth prison in Wales known as Ethan Allen School; the Northern Wisconsin Center for the developmentally disabled; the Wiscraft Workshop and administration buildings in Milwaukee; and various heating plants, cooling plants and telecommunications infrastructure around the state.
But so far the state has not sought to sell any of the other properties that might be allowed under the law, including prisons, highways and university dormitories.
The 2014 memo gave no details on the potential property sales and omitted the fair market value of possible sale properties, even though a 2013 law required the administration to give that information to the Building Commission by then.
Ummmm… June 2014 was 2 years ago. Has anybody done anything since then? Remember that we are talking about assets that the state isn’t using. Not only could the state use the proceeds from selling them to offset debut, but it would put those properties back on the tax rolls, thus taking pressure off of all other taxpayers.
The Walker Administration needs to get off its ass and move some assets.