Statement of Mayor Paul Soglin on Wisconsin Mortgage Settlement Funds

February 22, 2012

Earlier today Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, Mayor Al Richards of St. Francis, Mayor John Dickert of Racine, Mayor Al Foekler of Oak Creek, Mayor Keith Bosman of Kenosha and Mayor Justin Nickels of Manitowoc held a press conference to express their frustration that foreclosure settlement funds are being used to fix state budget shortfalls, rather than helping local governments who are bearing the brunt of the costs of the foreclosure crisis.

Although Mayor Soglin was unable to join them he released the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed in the decision of Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen to divert $25.6 million from the nationwide mortgage settlement to the State of Wisconsin General Fund. The money was intended to help homeowners and families directly affected by the foreclosure crisis, not to fix the state budget.

The City of Madison, like so many communities around the state, has been negatively affected by the foreclosure crisis. The problem has been even more acute with small apartment buildings, those with four to eight units. These buildings were initially purchased as an investment, but as the economy has faltered, many owners have been unable to make payments. A number of these units have been repossessed or are facing foreclosure in the near future. As a result, some of these properties are empty and falling into disrepair, thus affecting entire neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the affects of this ripple through the community: tenants are suddenly left without housing, empty or dilapidated buildings attract crime and drive down surrounding property values.

The true cost of the foreclosure crisis was borne by the families in crisis, and the devastated neighborhoods. The state was given a rare opportunity to begin rebuilding these communities. Unfortunately, the Governor and the Attorney General are wasting that opportunity.

Contact:
  • Katie Crawley, 608-266-4611