A Teabagger lying? How unusual! Scott Walker is a stain.
Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker’s collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.
The reality is radically different. 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. Mad In Madison: Wisconsin Workers Protest Against Governor’s Budget Proposals
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.
(click here to continue reading Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights | TPMDC.)
Unfortunately, Walker has a political agenda that relies on the fantasy that Wisconsin is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Walker is not interested in balanced budgets, efficient government or meaningful job creation. Walker is interested in gaming the system to benefit his political allies and campaign contributors.
To achieve that end, he has proposed a $137 million budget “repair” bill that he intends to use as a vehicle to:
1. Undermine the long-established collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, which have for 80 years been the strongest advocates for programs that serve the great mass of Wisconsinites, as opposed to wealthy elites and corporate special interests.
As Racine’s Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason says, the governor’s bill is designed not with the purpose of getting the state’s finances in order but as “an assault on Wisconsin’s working families and political payback against unions who didn’t support Gov. Walker.”
2. Pay for schemes that redirect state tax dollars to wealthy individuals and corporate interests that have been sources of campaign funding for Walker’s fellow Republicans and special-interest campaigns on their behalf.
As Madison’s Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey notes, the governor and legislators aligned with him have over the past month given away special-interest favors to every lobby group that came asking, creating zero jobs in the process “but increasing the deficit by more than $100 million.” Actually, Hulsey’s being conservative in his estimate of how much money Walker and his allies have misappropriated for political purposes.
(click here to continue reading Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies.)
There’s a PDF here that was written by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, explaining in detail these misappropriations. Or as the authors put it:
Annually, this office prepares general fund revenue and expenditure projections for the Legislature prior to commencement of legislative deliberations on the state’s budget.
In the odd-numbered years, our report includes estimated revenues and expenditures for the current fiscal year and tax collection projections for each year of the next biennium. This report presents the conclusions of our analysis.