Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Anti-Walker Budget Hysteria Lacks Perspective


This week at the MacIver Institute, I do my best to provide a little sense of perspective to what Governor Scott Walker proposed on Friday.

So much for the post-Tucson shooting era of civility.

Walker’s announcement on Friday of a plan to fix the current state budget and begin to address the long-term budget deficit has caused his critics a case of hysteria. It’s a wonder that many of them do not require medical assistance, or at least tranquilizers.

Let’s try to gain a little perspective here. The current state budget is $137 million out of whack. The state is facing a $3.6 billion structural deficit in the next biennium, or as the MacIver Institute has pointed out, much higher when you include the $ one billion plus we owe the feds for unemployment benefits.

Among the state’s overdue obligations are two big holdovers from the Doyle era. Wisconsin owes Minnesota $58.7 million from the tax reciprocity agreement that is no longer in effect because of the overdue bill. Wisconsin also owes the state medical malpractice fund over $225 million after it was illegally raided in 2007.

According to Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, between the current obligations and the state’s structural deficit for the next biennium, the state is facing “nearly $4 billion in budget pressures over the next 30 months.”

If anyone should be suffering a case of the vapors, it’s the taxpayers.

Governor Walker has actually proposed a structural change that will have a long-term positive effect on Wisconsin’s bottom line. That’s a vast improvement over his predecessor who only raised taxes and put the bills off until the bill collectors couldn’t be put off any longer.

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