WI Fiscal Bureau Chief: Walker Tax Cuts Did Not Cause This Year's Budget Shortfall
7:15 PM, Feb 18, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
One talking point from opponents of Scott Walker's budget and unions bill is that the $137 million budget shortfall for Wisconsin's current fiscal year is the result of spending on health savings accounts and business tax cuts Walker pushed through during a special legislative session last month. "Walker gins up 'crisis' to reward cronies," reads the headline of an editorial for Madison's Capitol Times, a self-described progressive news outlet. The editorial reports:
The liberal news website Talking Points Memo repeats the claim made in the Cap Times editorial that former Democratic governor Jim Doyle left the state with a surplus. But the claim isn't true. According to Robert Lang, the director of the Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau (the Legislature's nonpartisan budget office), the purported $121 million surplus does not account for $258 million in other other shortfalls, including money owed to the state of Minnesota. Lang writes in an email to TWS:
In a phone call this evening, Lang confirmed that "the fiscal effect" of Walker's health savings accounts and business bills "is not reflected until the 2011-2013 budget." The projected deficit for the 2011-2013 budget is $3.6 billion.So the state will eventually have to find a way to pay for Walker's and the legislature's recent measures, but the claim that he "ginned up" the current controversy by rewarding "cronies" with those bills is false.