Scott Walker’s Budget: The Wrong Priorities

Jun 17, 2013

As Wisconsin ranks 44th in the nation in job growth, 45th in wage growth, 49th in economic forecast and 50th in short-term job growth, the full Legislature today begins work on Scott Walker’s budget that cuts taxes for the wealthy and funds unaccountable voucher schools at the expense of public education.

Claiming he had to do it to balance the budget, Scott Walker divided our state and enacted a $1.6 billion cut to public education — the largest in Wisconsin history — with his first budget. This time around, Scott Walker again abandons a balanced approach, authoring a budget that creates a $664 million deficit that forces our children to pay for tax breaks for big corporations and the extremely wealthy.

Other key provisions of Scott Walker’s budget:

  • Forces taxpayers to not only pay for public schools, but give $94 million to unaccountable private voucher schools as well — a statewide expansion, much of which subsidizes parents who already send their children to private schools.
  • Gives a tax break to anyone — no matter how wealthy they are — that sends their kids to private school.
  • Rejects federal funds to strengthen BadgerCare and enacts Scott Walker’s changes that cut nearly 80,000 people off BadgerCare, forcing someone making as little as $12,000 per year to buy private insurance with copays and deductibles as much as $4,000 per year.
  • Forces taxpayers to pay $120 million more to provide healthcare to 84,700 fewer people.
  • Includes 94 non-fiscal policy items — even though candidate Scott Walker promised to eliminate policy items from the budget process — including a roll back of consumer protections to favor predatory payday loan shops, cable companies and makers of lead paint, removal of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from the UW-Madison campus, and to allow bail bounty hunters.
  • Allows the sale of state and UW owned property — such as power plants, prisons, highways, campus dorms, and even the state Capitol — without requiring competitive bids.
  • Raises taxes on the construction and manufacturing industries by $50 million and guts Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance system to deny countless unemployed workers benefits.
  • Borrows nearly $1 billion for the transportation budget over the next two years for state projects, leaving future generations in debt and doing nothing to help local communities build or repair local roads.

“At 44th in the nation in job creation, 45th in wage growth and 50th in short-term job growth, Wisconsin is still feeling the damage of Scott Walker’s first budget that enacted massive cuts to public education, jobs training programs and healthcare,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “As Republicans in the state Assembly and state Senate prepare to take up Walker’s second budget, they should be mindful of the fact that Scott Walker cares more about his next job than Wisconsin jobs, including theirs. There is still time for reasonable Republicans to abandon this anti-middle-class budget and support a balanced plan that will fully fund public education, accept federal funds to expand BadgerCare and build a stronger middle-class with a fair tax structure.”