This Week Walker's Budget Officially Failed | WisCommunity

This Week Walker's Budget Officially Failed


It was a failure from the start, but now it's official. This week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau released Bottom line, the state is projected to finish the biennium 208 million dollars in the hole. We were told that slashing spending--records cuts to education, health care and other basic services--sticking it to teachers, nurses and other public sector workers and dismantling Wisconsin's consumer protection laws were the only ways to grow jobs and put the state's fiscal house in order. We were told these tough choices had to made because we couldn't rely on “tricks and gimmicks” anymore.

Now, we know that:

  1. The budget is in deficit;

  2. Wisconsin has since the budget took effect; and

  3. Walker will now use “tricks and gimmicks” to conceal the fact his budget is an abysmal failure.

The biggest reason for the budget deficit is a 273 million dollar decline in tax revenue, which is a result of the anemic Wisconsin economy. While Walker tours the nation as a conquering hero, his experiment with austerity in Wisconsin has proven that the conservative agenda--like the state--is bankrupt. Sucking spending power out of the middle class churns the downward spiral; Walker shrinks the economy and, consequentially more jobs dry up.

Keep in mind that the current deficit projection is approximately the size of, or arguably larger than, the projected deficit Walker used as a pretext for stripping collective bargaining rights through last year's so-called budget repair bill. After a year of a radical right-wing agenda and intense acrimony, the state's balance sheet has not improved one bit. What's more, Wisconsin families have less money in their pocket books, and since the budget became effective, fewer of them have jobs.

Now, is Walker going to pull the campaign ads touting his “balanced budget,” return to Wisconsin and sit down with both sides of the aisle to address the hole in the budget he created? Rather than introducing legislation, the administration is considering, as a solution. These are what I think Walker in a past life would call “tricks and gimmicks.” Even more hypocritical, Walker also plans to partially address the short fall through a fund raid. He and J.B. Van Hollen plan to

All of that is ful enough, but Walker's current game plan also stands as further evidence that Act 10 was a predetermined response to an invented crisis. If such a radical, sham of a “budget repair bill” was needed last year, why is a true budget repair bill not needed now, when the current deficit is roughly equal to last year's and is double the threshold that should statutorily trigger a new budget bill?

The answer is, of course, politics. Last year, Walker thought busting the unions was good politics. This year, if Walker draws more attention to his complete failure of budget by trying to pass repair legislation, it would probably be fatal to his recall chances. Even though it is now clearly a lie, he needs to be able to keep making the claim that he balanced the budget. He needs to keep his campaign ads and machine going, traveling the country to raise millions of dollars for his benefit, all while both the state and Wisconsin families can't make ends meet.


February 12, 2012 - 7:35pm