Scott Walker and his Republican legislature hoping for a miracle influx of cash to help stanch the damage caused by their disastrous anti-middle class budget are scrambling for answers today as the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the latest revenue numbers showing that the state’s collections were even lower than originally projected.
The Walker-GOP budget sought to plug a self-inflicted $2 billion deficit with a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin system, a further decimation of K-12 schools that have already been subject to $1.6 billion in cuts under Republican leadership, and a plan to cut funding for critical healthcare programs that benefit seniors and families.
But while its simple addition and subtraction a grade schooler could do — if you give money away to special interests and the wealthiest Wisconsinites to fuel Scott Walker’s presidential ambitions there isn’t going to be enough left to fund essential public services — the math is apparently confusing for Republican leaders like Speaker Robin Vos, who commented today that the plan of “crossing our fingers and going to church on Sunday” in the hopes of additional revenue “didn’t work.”
Wisconsin’s crisis budget — the third in a row under Republican leadership — comes as the national economy is growing and other states are running surpluses they can invest in education and infrastructure. Just across the border in Minnesota, at the same time Wisconsin Republicans were cutting funds for schools, roads, and healthcare, Democrats were able to turn a $5 billion deficit into a more than $1 billion surplus.
Instead of being in a position to invest in the middle class, Republican leaders “will have to stick with Walker’s cuts or find others, raise taxes or fees or use borrowing and accounting tricks or some combination of those approaches” to solve the budget crisis, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Scott Walker and Republican leaders were ‘crossing their fingers’ for new revenue to offset their cuts to healthcare and education? Did they also bet the rainy day fund on Manny Pacquiao and buy some magic beans?” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Wednesday. “The current budget crisis was entirely avoidable and was caused because Republicans sold out middle class Wisconsin families to help Scott Walker’s presidential ambitions. If Republicans can’t admit their mistakes and commit to offering a serious plan to fix the mess they’ve created, they can’t be trusted to lead any longer.”