Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Latest Scott Walker Shenanigans

The figures released by Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau show that Walker's proposals to cut property taxes and install worker training bills stand to add $180 million in costs. Implementation would swing a current surplus to a $725 million deficit for the 2015-2017 calendar period, according to the report.
What Washington Needs To Learn About Scott Walker 
As governor, Walker has cut 92,000 working Wisconsinites off their health care, slashed funding for public education at all levels by record amounts, while larding the wealthy and special interests with massive tax breaks and signed into law programs to reward politically connected but unqualified cronies with state tax dollars. 
The result has been that Wisconsin has significantly lagged the national and regional pace of job creation and economic recovery.
Mining Bill On Access Would Save Landowners Nearly $900,000
The owners of land that could become the site of a massive iron ore mine could avoid paying the state nearly $900,000 if legislators pass a bill that would allow the mine's developers to restrict public access to the property.
Scott Walker's Totalitarian Tendencies 
As Milwaukee County executive, he reduced bus service and fought defined bike and bus routes, opposed using available federal funds for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s streetcar concepts, and blocked the KRM, a 35-mile train route with Metra links into Chicago. As governor, he and his minions even repealed the KRM funding mechanisms ,despite six years of deep planning by business and community leaders to elevate passenger and freight service in southeastern Wisconsin. 
Worse, after years of state planning and millions of dollars in preparation, Walker turned down President Barack Obama’s offer of $810 million in federal funding for higher-speed train service between Milwaukee and Madison. That project was intended as the opening round in a Minneapolis-St. Paul route through Wisconsin, and the building of a national train network with Wisconsin as a key player in spurring commerce and job growth thanks to its alternatives to highways. Wisconsin taxpayers have always provided the federal government more taxes than what’s spent within the state, so all Walker did was cheat them of federal largess, which was quickly grabbed by other states.
Under Scott Walker, Wisconsin Keeps Increasing Its Long-Term Borrowing
Under Walker’s 2013-15 budget, debt service will climb even higher, claiming 5.26% of general fund dollars in 2014 and 4.88% in 2015, according to WISTAX. The state’s historical debt level target has been 4%...
Walker has only added to the problem, some have argued, by rejecting $4.4 billion in federal Medicaid assistance, linked to Obamacare, over the next decade. 
Due to the increases, Medicaid expenditures now account for 15.1 percent of total state general fund spending. That’s a record high and up from an average of about 10 percent during 1985-2003. 
Conversely, K-12 school aids will comprise just one-third of general fund spending, the lowest percentage since 1996, a year before then Gov. Tommy Thompson committed to funding two-thirds of school costs in an effort to control local property taxes. 
In 1996, shared revenues to municipalities and counties accounted for 12.4 percent of spending but will be less than 6 percent by 2015, WISTAX found. 
While Medicaid accounts for the largest increase in spending, WISTAX notes that general fund dollars are also funding transportation, a relatively new phenomenon. 
The Walker budget shifts $213.7 million from the general fund and $44.5 million from the petroleum inspection fund to pay for transportation needs. It also pays for the debt service on another $200 million in transportation borrowing with general fund dollars.

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