Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Walker's Trojan Horse. Gov gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies

Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies
Wisconsin needs to be fiscally responsible.
There is no question that these are tough times, and they may require tough choices.
But Gov. Scott Walker is not making tough choices. He is making political choices, and they are designed not to balance budgets but to improve his political position and that of his party.
It is for this reason that the governor claims Wisconsin is in such deep financial trouble that Wisconsinites should view this as a crisis moment.
In fact, like just about every other state in the country, Wisconsin is managing in a weak economy. The difference is that Wisconsin is managing better -- or at least it had been managing better until Walker took over. Despite shortfalls in revenue following the economic downturn that hit its peak with the Bush-era stock market collapse, the state has balanced budgets, maintained basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment and business development steadier than the rest of the country. It has managed so well, in fact, that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.
In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.
To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.

The Fiscal Bureau memo -- which readers can access at -- makes it clear that Walker did not inherit a budget that required a repair bill.
The facts are not debatable.

Shocking. The Gov lied and faked a 'budget crisis,' just as he did in 2009 in Milwaukee County, in order to funnel money to his political owners?



Rich said...

Wondering why there is never a retraction when you are blatantly spreading lies... Or will you blame it once again on my seeing innocence in everything...

Mpeterson said...

Ah, then thanks Rich. Let's blame my innocence. I'd seen the Pew Center reports, but made the same mistake reading the LFB report everyone else did. Here's the rest of their comment....

"The confusion, it appears, stems from a section in Lang’s memo that -- read on its own -- does project a $121 million surplus in the state’s general fund as of June 30, 2011.

But the remainder of the routine memo -- consider it the fine print -- outlines $258 million in unpaid bills or expected shortfalls in programs such as Medicaid services for the needy ($174 million alone), the public defender’s office and corrections. Additionally, the state owes Minnesota $58.7 million under a discontinued tax reciprocity deal.

The result, by our math and Lang’s, is the $137 million shortfall."

So, the estimate I followed was out by $250 million... Embarrassing since I used it in the column tomorrow. But I guess I'd ask you whether this constitutes a crisis if the 1% sales tax can still take care of it within a few years?

Rich said...

I would say yes, because it is more than a 1 year problem. With the unemployment, underemployment and depressed salaries, I don't think increasing a tax is the answer.