Friday, February 18, 2011

Wisco gov faked budget shortfall

Photo courtesy Teamsters Local 344
You try to be cynical but you just can't keep up. Talking Points Memo reports there is no budget crisis in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker just made it up as an excuse to attack workers. Reports TPM:
Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.
Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.
The Capitol Times wrote an op-ed on Wednesday that Walker's so-called $140 million deficit is a direct result of giveaways to special interests. Notes the newspaper:
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.

(We need to remember here that Walker's campaign received $43,000 from the Koch brothers and $5 million from the Republican Governor's Association, which gets funding from billionaire Rupert Murdoch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.)

Continues the Capitol Times:
Walker did not inherit a budget that required a repair bill.
The facts are not debatable.
The newspaper also notes that Wisconsin was doing fine until Walker took over:
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.
According to the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau also determined that half of the projected shortfall would be a result of Walker's own proposals:

•$25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which already has $73 million

•$48 million for private health savings accounts, so more of your money can go to Wall Street.

•$67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but wouldn't create any jobs.

Read the report here.