Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s Budget Woes

Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin)

Governor Scott Walker

By Elaine Magliaro

Earlier this year, I wrote a couple of posts about Governor Scott Walker and the state of the state of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Has Largest Decline of Middle Class of Any State According to New Study and Governor Scott Walker Planning to Cut $300 Million in Funding for the University of Wisconsin…While Proposing $220 Million Investment for Milwaukee Bucks Arena.

Today, Alice Ollstein (ThinkProgress) reported that things are not looking financially rosy for the Badger State. It seems that Walker and his allies “had been counting on increased tax revenue from a rebounding economy to help them avoid painful cuts to the state’s public primary schools and universities” as the deadline to pass a state budget draws ever closer. Ollstein said, however, that “the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau dashed those hopes this week, telling lawmakers that can expect no new revenue at all.”

Ollstein said that one of the biggest contributing factors to Wisconsin’s fiscal crisis is “Governor Walker’s 2011 tax cuts, which disproportionately benefit wealthy property owners and corporations, and have cost more than twice as much as originally predicted.” She said that recent “data shows the credits will cost the state at least $275 million in additional lost tax revenue over the next two years.”


This is almost exactly the amount that Governor Walker wants to slash from the University of Wisconsin system, a threat that has already led several campuses into laying off hundreds of professors and staff.

According to Ollstein, his corporate tax cuts have been “a major cornerstone of Governor Walker’s tenure…” She noted, though, that “the singular focus on slashing taxes has taken the state from a billion dollar surplus to a nearly $2 billion deficit.”

Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast said, “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker talks a good fiscal conservative game on the campaign trail, but his new budget tells a different story.”


His luck with the budget is almost an inversion of his national political trajectory—in the same way that he’s drawn adulation from conservative crowds in New Hampshire and Iowa, he’s drawn rancor from conservative lawmakers in Madison.

Woodruff noted that on the same day that Quinnipiac released its poll results of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers, which showed Walker in first place, “the state’s version of the Congressional Budget Office released a report that had even more bad news for Madison Republicans.” She said, “Walker looks set to wrap up budgeting season not with a bang, but a whimper. And the situation could cast a pall over his campaign rollout.”

I’m not sure the situation will cast a pall over Walker’s campaign rollout. The mainstream media hasn’t done much in-depth reporting on the subject of Wisconsin’s fiscal crisis and the reasons for it–and he still holds onto his early lead in Iowa according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

What do you think?


Scott Walker’s Corporate Tax Breaks Come Back To Haunt Him (ThinkProgress)

Walker’s High Spendin’, Debt Raisin’ Budget (The Daily Beast)


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21 Responses to Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s Budget Woes

  1. rafflaw says:

    Walker is dirty and has sucked the life out of the middle class.

  2. Elaine M. says:


    But the Koch brothers love him–and that’s what matters!

  3. bigfatmike says:

    Can any one think of even a single instance where lowering tax rates lead to increased economic activity that recouped tax revenue?

  4. Mr. Mac says:

    Walker reminds me of Reagan. The left mocked Reagan and elevated him way above his peter principle status. The left is doing the same with Walker. They are turning an average politician into a rock star.

  5. pete says:

    “Walker reminds me of Reagan.”

    His wife is into astrology?
    He’s borderline senile?
    Ah, I know, the hair. Yes his hair does look somewhat Reagan like.

  6. rafflaw says:

    Walker is the Koch Bros puppet

  7. Elaine M. says:


    He’s not a puppet. He’s a rock star…didn’t you know?


  8. I. Annie says:

    His approval ratings are so low now, he’d never win another election for Governor.

  9. michaelbeaton says:

    It is a strange religion this group of pol’s live by. And like religion defeats in its prophecies are seen as proof of its truth(yness), undaunted by anything that resembles a fact.
    Not to be moved by its ever growing, never contradicted failed outcomes it takes on the semblance of those zealots who just wish everyone would be righteous and do what they say , and then , really, the messiah will come.
    But it is really your fault that it never works out, You people who suffer the consequences of our policies and beliefs. Kansas, New Jersey, now Wisconsin…Pick a place that has fallen prey to the trickle down doctrines and the outcomes are the same. Go back a little and examine the policies and priests of the Iraq War, the Economic Crisis… it is the same religious beliefs that enlightens each of these epochs. And the people, citizens , the parishioners, who are the presumed benefactors of their kindness are decimated yet again. And then are told in glowing rhetoric that it is those infidels of the left who are the problem.
    And so the story recycles. And the parishioners never seem to grasp that it is the ministers of their great religion that are the thieves in their pocket. And so they vote again for the crooks who bedevil them, and always wonder why nothing ever changes… and figure it must be those damn gays, or blacks, or liberals, or immigrants or the Unions or…. someone, anyone else. The fear intensifies and they huddle ever closer trying to keep the glaring truth from their consciousness….

    This bit with Walker. Completely predictable. From the beginning. Especially when he gutted the unions, was recalled for his errors, and survived the assault. The people proved loyal acolytes, and are living the benefits of their folly. But it will be the fault of someone else. Count on it.
    Every good religion must have a devil to blame for the failures.

  10. Mr. Mac says:

    He’s only a rock star because elitists like you are making him one. Hell, Boy George was a rock star because idiots made him one.

  11. gbk says:


    Amen, brother!

  12. “Every good religion must have a devil to blame for the failures.” – michaelbeaton

    “How can you be in when there is no outside?” – Peter Gabriel, Not One of Us

  13. gbk says:

    Big Mac,

    Which Boy George you talking about?

    This one:

    or this one:

  14. Mr. Mac says:

    great one, gbk. But in this context the former.

  15. Elaine M. says:


    Well said!

  16. Elaine M. says:

    GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe; Says, “Let’s Get the Truth Out”

    Schmitz called upon the Governor “to join me in seeking judicial approval” to release sealed documents “which would be responsive to the allegations that have been made.” Chisholm agreed: “the truth is always a defense, so let’s get the truth out in a legal manner, not through lies, distortions and misrepresentations.”

    The public comments and challenge are remarkable from the usually-reserved career prosecutors, who until now have remained silent as their reputations have been dragged through the mud by Walker’s allies.

    The heated public exchange comes just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to take up a series of challenges to the probe, and as the U.S. Supreme Court considers granting an appeal of a federal lawsuit that the 7th Circuit rejected last year.

    And, the comments follow a National Review magazine article published online April 20 that savaged Chisholm and decried the probe as “the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.” Although the piece also repeated long-discredited allegations from Wisconsin’s right-wing blogs, it was quickly picked up by the national right-wing echo chamber, including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal editorial board and trumpeted as a breakthrough “investigation.”

    Yet the National Review article doesn’t even mention the Republican prosecutor leading the probe, Francis Schmitz, nor does it touch on the evidence of corruption that gave rise to the bipartisan investigation.

    As former Milwaukee District Attorney E Michael McCann told the Center for Media and Democracy: “If you’ve got the facts on your side, fight on the facts. If you’ve got the law on your side, fight on the law. If you’ve got neither, fight the DA.”

  17. I. Annie says:

    Yes, the special prosecutor in the John Doe case, Schmitz is a Republican and the GAB who agreed to proceed with an investigation is bipartisan. They can rant about the DA all they want.

  18. blouise says:

    Jeb is smiling

  19. Elaine M. says:

    Scott Walker Gave Corporations Cash To Create Jobs, Forgot To Check If They Created Jobs

    The job creation agency founded by Governor Scott Walker has been routinely violating its own rules and state law, according to a damning report released Friday by Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau.

    Walker set up the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2011 in order to give taxpayer dollars to private corporations to help them create jobs for Wisconsin workers. But a new audit of more than 100 grants from the agency found that the WEDC failed to follow up on whether the companies were actually using the funds to create and retain jobs.

    The group also gave loans and tax credits to companies that did not meet its requirements, and did not even attempt to fact-check claims by the companies about the number of jobs they created. Additionally, the agency forgave, wrote off or deferred more than $4 million in loan payments that the corporations were supposed to pay back to the state.

    Critics of the Governor, including Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate, cited the new data as evidence of his “ineptitude…bordering on criminal negligence” and called for legislators to pass reforms.

    Since its creation in 2011, the WEDC has been plagued by scandals. An audit in 2013 found the agency repeatedly failed to follow state laws regarding the use of public funds. And in 2014, two corporations that received millions taxpayer funds from the WEDC, Eaton and Plexus, outsourced jobs to Mexico and other foreign countries, and laid off hundreds of Wisconsin workers.

  20. I. Annie says:

    Democrats call for the DOJ to investigate the WEDC loan deal.They’ve also filed a complaint with the GAB. We’ll see what happens.

  21. The national debt accumulated under Barack Obama makes this look like pocket change.

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