The projected deficit announced Monday afternoon is nearly three times the size of the structural deficit projected by the Fiscal Bureau in May of this year. The latest news comes just two weeks after the Department of Revenue announced a nearly $300 million revenue shortfall.
Republican Senator Mike Ellis commented on the deficit saying, “A number of us were concerned, but they did it anyway,” Republican Senator Rob Cowles took a more critical tone, saying, “Until you’ve gone through one of these things, you really don’t understand how bad it can get. Maybe they’ll be more cautious next time.”
Earlier this year, Democrats called Walker’s plans to hastily spend a projected surplus spending money the state didn’t yet have, and cautioned the governor to focus on making sure that the deficit is reduced.
Despite Walker’s lip-service on fiscal responsibility, his misguided approach to governing has turned Wisconsin into a fiscal mess in just three and half years.
Walker’s fiscal irresponsibility during his first term includes passing a lopsided income tax plan that reduced the number of state income tax brackets from five to four, meaning than an individual making $21,760 a year is taxed in the same bracket as someone making $239,600. Under Walker’s plan someone making $40,000 to $50,000 would see an average decrease in taxes paid of $133, compared to someone making over $300,000 who would save $1,402, or more than ten times the cut for the average Wisconsin taxpayer.
In addition, Walker issued tax increases aimed at putting the squeeze on working class families to the tune of $69.8 million in tax increases, while dishing out $610 million in tax breaks to businesses over his term.
“Scott Walker’s poor decisions over the last three and half years have put Wisconsin in abysmal fiscal shape to go along with a dead last in the Midwest job creation ranking. CEO’s in the business world are fired every day for creating disasters like the one Walker has made here,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “Scott Walker’s approach has failed, plain and simple. The latest polling showing Mary Burke leading Scott Walker among likely voters suggests Wisconsinites are fed up with the repeated failings of this governor.”