FACT CHECK: Scott Walker’s Record Of Fiscal Irresponsibility

Oct 09, 2014

SCOTT WALKER STATEMENT: Scott Walker claims to have a record of fiscal responsibility as governor, and even claims to have created a budget surplus.


  • Wisconsin has a projected deficit of $396 million in the current budget. [1]

  • And a staggering $1.76 billion projected structural deficit heading into the next budget. [2]

  • The massive deficit will only continue to grow as 2015-2017 agency budget requests are considered. 

  • The agency requests that have been submitted thus far include $1.1 billion in new spending – without including complete requests from the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Transportation—potentially two of the largest requests.  

  • According to Secretary Gottlieb, the Department of Transportation is anticipating a deficit of approximately $680 million. [3]

  • In August, the Department of Revenue announced a nearly $300 million revenue shortfall. [4]

  • Walker’s fiscally irresponsible policies include a lopsided income tax cut which puts  individuals making $21,760 a year in the same tax bracket as someone making $239,600. 

  • 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.

RESPONSE OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF WISCONSIN CHAIR MIKE TATE: “Scott Walker’s fiscally irresponsible approach to governing put Wisconsin in a deep hole heading into the next biennial budget. The state now faces a massive budget deficit to match it’s dead last job creation ranking – all thanks to Scott Walker.” 

[1] “Meanwhile, the state’s projected gap in its current budget ending June has risen to $396 million — or about 1.2% of the spending planned for the 2013-’15 budget.” (Wisconsin state budget shortfall projected at nearly $1.8 billion, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/8/14)

[2] “The expected shortfall for the next two-year state budget starting in July has risen to nearly $1.8 billion, or about half of what it was when Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011.“ (Wisconsin state budget shortfall projected at nearly $1.8 billion, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/8/14)

[3] “The department is projecting a $680 million shortfall in its 2015-17 budget.  A bipartisan state transportation commission reported last year that if Wisconsin wants to maintain current service, traffic flow and road condition levels under the existing funding system, the state will be short $15.3 billion over the next decade.“ (Long-term transportation funding solution coming in 2015-17 budget, Wisconsin State Journal, 6/2/14)

[4] “State tax collections fell short of expectations by $281 million last year, providing potential difficulties in the future for the state budget,“ (State tax collections fall $281million short of projections, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/28/14)