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Gov. Walker vetoes funding for program to tear down foreclosed homes

MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett cried foul, after Governor Scott Walker vetoed new state funding to tear down vacant homes that were foreclosed upon.

The new state budget would have spent $3.5 million to help Wisconsin communities demolish those houses.

It was one of 57 budget items that Walker vetoed yesterday – but it might come back to the state Legislature this fall.

Republican Senate Finance co-chair Alberta Darling and Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards both say the mayor raises legitimate concerns.

They expect the foreclosure funding to be a separate bill after lawmakers return to session in September.

Milwaukee has an estimated 1,700-plus vacant homes with foreclosures.

Barrett calls them eyesores which breed crime and reduce neighboring property values.

The mayor said the Republican governor decided the problem doesn’t exist.

Barrett said the funding should have come from Wisconsin’s $140 million share of a national settlement of a mortgage-abuse lawsuit against five big banks.

Foreclosed homeowners have received a share of that money, and the state used $25-million of it to cover a general deficit in the last state budget.

Barrett has often said the money should have been used to help clean up the foreclosure mess, instead of cleaning up the state government’s books.