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WI Coalition: Repair Spells (Economic) Relief

December 22, 2008

Madison, WI - A Wisconsin group is calling on the federal government to quickly put into effect a New Deal-style jobs program to turn the state's ailing economy around. Citizen Action of Wisconsin also wants Congress and the new president to put millions of people to work on the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

Robert Kraig, Citizen Action of Wisconsin program director, said these tough times require drastic action.

"We have an economic crisis that may be the worst since the Great Depression, and we need an economic recovery package that's of that magnitude."

The group would also like to see substantial investments in job training, job readiness, foreclosure relief, bankruptcy reform and expansion of affordable health care.

Kraig said any economic recovery plan must include programs to address the housing crisis which helped usher in the economic slide in Wisconsin and across the nation.

"We need direct intervention into the initial cause of the crisis, that is, in the housing crisis; it needs meaningful activity to modify people's loans so as to keep them in their homes."

Kraig supports a massive public works bill which he said would put millions of people to work and restore many public facilities that have been neglected.

"We aren't maintaining our schools as we could; 43 percent of schools are in disrepair. As for our bridges, 25 percent of them are not structurally sufficient right now."

Those opposed to such economic rescue efforts fear they'll increase the federal deficit, lead to higher taxes, and possibly cause inflation to spike.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI