Walker’s Legislative Budget Record: Five Budgets, 84% Spending Hike

Walker Votes Grew Budget From $27 Billion to $49 Billion; Voted for Nearly $200 Billion in Total Budget Spending

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker voted for five straight state budgets, which increased state budget spending from $26.6 billion to nearly $49 billion, an increase of $22 billion – or 84 percent, according to an analysis by One Wisconsin Now.

“Scott Walker was a unilateral ‘yes’ vote for all five budgets he saw as a member of the Republican-led State Assembly,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “On every roll call, on every procedural vote, on every increase, Scott Walker voted with the majority and nearly doubled the size of the state budget.”

When Walker entered the state legislature in 1993, the state’s biennial budget spending was $26,577,693,600. Walker then voted for five consecutive state biennial budgets, including the 2001-03 biennial budget, where spending increased to $48,868,063,300. This represents an increase of 83.9 percent in the budget during Walker’s tenure. [Source: 1992 WI Act 269; 2001 WI Act 16; WI Legislative Fiscal Bureau]

The increases Walker voted for were consistently several billion dollars every biennium. Each of the five budgets Walker voted for increased spending between $2.7 to $4.7 billion.

Year Bill/Act Total Spending Spending Increase % Increase
1993-95 SB44/Act16 $31,327,732,900 $4,750,039,300 17.87
1995-97 AB150/Act27 $34,008,720,400 $2,680,987,500 8.56
1997-99 AB100/Act27 $38,433,472,100 $4,424,751,700 13.01
1999-01 AB133/Act9 $44,235,227,300 $5,801,755,200 15.10
2001-03 SB55/Act16 $48,868,063,300 $4,632,836,000 10.47
Total $196,873,216,000 $22,290,369,700 83.87

Examining the five separate budget votes, One Wisconsin Now found that not only did Walker vote lock-step for the increases in spending, but also he voted with the majority on every single one of hundreds of roll call votes which made up the budget deliberations.

This contrasts with complaints Walker has repeatedly leveled against government spending. When Walker announced his opposition to Wisconsin receiving billions of dollars in needed Recovery Act funds, he hypocritically claimed it was state government spending which was to blame, failing to point out the 84 percent jump in budget spending he supported over nearly a decade in the state legislature.

Walker wrote in a February 2009 Wall Street Journal column, “Even worse, most of the money is actually spent on new government programs and on bailing out failed state and local governments.” [Source: Wall Street Journal, 2/28/09]

“There is not one dime of that $22 billion, 84 percent jump in spending that Scott Walker doesn’t own,” said Ross. “If Scott Walker wants to see who’s really to blame for Wisconsin’s troubled economic past he should put down George W. Bush’s economic playbook and look in the mirror.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.