Scott Walker’s Record on Budgets


In this section, you’ll find lowlights from Scott Walker’s budgets, both as county executive and governor.

As governor, Walker’s approach has been to reward the wealthy and corporations with tax cuts, both in the budget and through special legislation, while slashing funds to public education, technical colleges, public assistance programs, and the UW System. In his first budget, Walker made the largest per student cuts to education in the nation, and in his most recent budget he again proposed cutting $127 million from public schools, while increasing funds going to unaccountable taxpayer funded voucher schools.

As county executive, Governor Walker would often propose an unworkable budget with severe cuts, leaving the county board to fix it and make tax increases if necessary. Walker would then use his partial veto on swaths of the budget, and the county board would override. Walker could then claim to his conservative base that he did not increase any taxes.

Research

One Wisconsin Institute

With the mantra “we're broke,” Gov. Scott Walker proposed slashing funding to services and public goods of the middle class – all the while cutting taxes by $200 million for the wealthy and corporations. The reality is that there is no fiscal emergency and we're not broke.

Lakeland Times
While the professor's numbers suggest a correlation between the tax credit and job creation, the liberal group One Wisconsin Now said the Walker administration itself could not back up any claims of job growth due to the credit.

Associated Press
“Budgets are about choices and Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature chose to give a $300 million tax break to millionaires and billionaires instead of paying for our schools, roads and universities,” said Scot Ross, director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now

Capital Times
Wisconsin’s sweeping tax credit that shields manufacturers and farmers from paying state income tax hits its apex this tax year following a three-year implementation plan of progressive rate hikes. ... “It’s not just that this scheme is infinitely more expensive than advertised, it’s that Walker’s slashed public education and higher education funds… to pay for these trickle down policies,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a liberal advocacy group.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scot Ross, of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said: "Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature have given property taxpayers pennies today while putting our technical colleges at grave risk tomorrow. "Republicans have repeatedly cut general fund support to K-12 schools and the UW System to pay for tax breaks disproportionately benefiting the wealthy and corporations, and now technical colleges must rely on this same increasingly unstable funding source for a dramatically larger share of their operating funds."

La Crosse Tribune
Mike Browne, deputy director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said the governor’s attitude of “I don’t like it, but I’ll sign it,” is a sign he’s not interested in spending time in Wisconsin negotiating on policy. Instead, he’s trying to “get out of here” and run for president, he said.

Holmen Courier-Life
First, Walker doesn’t understand the private sector. His salary has been paid by taxpayers since 1993, the same year Bill Clinton first took the presidential oath. Second, Walker slashed funding to Wisconsin’s Technical College System by over 30 percent on its centennial anniversary in 2011. Third, Walker enacted every major piece of legislation he asked for from the Republican legislature. The result? Wisconsin ranks last in the Midwest in job creation, is divided with partisanship as never before and is dogged by a budget deficit topping $2 billion.

Project Vote Smart

In his 2010 run, Walker laid out the following “Government Spending and Reform” Issues.“Start the state budget at zero. Just because a government program has a vocal constituency and a high priced lobbyist, doesn’t mean it should continue, let alone receive automatic funding increases. Every dollar spent should be scrutinized and justified, not simply given a blind percentage increase. “Require the use of generally accepted accounting principles -GAAP- to balance every state budget, just as we require every local government and school district to do. “Strip policy and pork projects from the state budget. The budget process should be about funding essential government services based on the taxpayers’ ability to pay. It should not be about horse trading for special interest groups or establishing talking points for the next campaign. “No more raiding segregated state funds to pay for other programs. If taxpayer revenue is collected for a specific purpose such as building and maintaining roads, it should be used for that purpose and that purpose only. “Restore Wisconsin’s reputation for clean and honest government through transparency in the state contracting process. Require lobbyists to report all attempts to influence state agency decisions regarding the awarding of state contracts and grants and provide real time disclosure of all contracts and grant awards. Government is spending your money and you have a right to know when, where, and how much.

Department of Administration

Additionally, the governor slowed the progress made in 2010 by the Department of Revenue in collecting delinquent taxes. In 2010, the Department collected $193 million in delinquent taxes, a $40 million increase over the previous year. But now the Governor would scale back on tax-collection activities, reducing the Department’s goal by $20 million a year. (Department of Administration’s Executive Budget for the Department of Revenue, pp. 453-454)

Politifact
Democrats (and a few Republicans) have complained about a variety of matters in the budget, and said the package was poorly prepared. Such complaints were raised in a news release issued the day before work on the budget began in the Joint Finance Committee. The Democrats on the committee complained that lawmakers were given a "last minute error document" that ran 110 pages. "Drafting errors may happen, but I highly doubt that 110 pages and millions of dollars’ worth of mistakes and unintended consequences are anything but the product of an extremely distracted Governor not putting his home state first," state Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) said in a news release issued by the Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee...Compared with recent budgets, the errata report from the Department of Administration for the 2015-’17, dated April 15, 2015, budget made more corrections -- about 110 by our count -- than those in the past several budgets... That’s at least $20 million in cleaned up mistakes.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that the most recent proposal would include $250 million from taxpayers, with another $150 million coming from Bucks owners and $100 million from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a previous Bucks owner. The likely Republican candidate was asked about the report Thursday and indicated support for some of its central elements, including the taxes that could be levied to pay for it. Walker said he doesn't consider the potentially higher taxes in Milwaukee County a tax increase because the Wisconsin Center Board already has the authority to raise them but isn't doing it, he told reporters in Portage.

Capital Times

Gov. Scott Walker has cancelled a planned merger of two economic development agencies after a new audit said Walker's job-creating entity failed to follow statutes or its own policies when making financial awards...Within hours of the audit release, Walker issued a statement calling for that merger to be removed from the state budget along with a merger of two other state agencies. "After hearing concerns from legislators, stakeholders, and the WHEDA and WEDC boards, we asked legislators to remove the proposed agency mergers from the state budget and we asked the bill authors to not move forward with the proposed separate legislation," Walker said.

People
"Both Walker's household and the deficit-laden state of Wisconsin under his purview are spending far more than they bring in," said Scot Ross of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, according to The Daily Beast. "Seems Scott Walker might want to change his slogan to 'Do as I say, not as I do.' "

One Wisconsin Now

Out-of-state backers of the failed 25-year school privatization racket will be descending upon Madison today for what will likely be among many events designed to “commemorate” the quarter-century failed school privatization experiment in Wisconsin. The event is being hosted by the Federalist Society with a featured speaker from the Goldwater Institute, both of which have received huge financial support from the pro-privatization Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.

Agri-View
The move met broad opposition, including from all living former DNR Secretaries. “In an unprecedented letter of unity, all six former living Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretaries have endorsed that the Natural Resources Board should retain its current authority over the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.The former secretaries’ careers span 36 years of leadership from 1975 through 2011; they include secretaries who served under both Republican and Democratic governors, and served as both board-appointed and governor-appointed…The letter stated: ‘The state budget that is presently before the Joint Finance Committee proposes to change state law by removing the decision-making authority of the Natural Resources Board and making it solely advisory to the Department of Natural Resources Secretary. We all agree that the Natural Resources Board should be retained as the decision-making body for the Department of Natural Resources. As presently constituted the board provides immeasurable value for Wisconsin citizens and the natural resources of the state.’” (Note: The Joint Finance Committee removed Walker’s proposed change from the budget.)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A new analysis released Tuesday by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the fiscal effect on the state of Gov. Scott Walker's $220 million bonding proposal for a new downtown arena could range from nearly $323 million to as high as $488 million. The new numbers examining different scenarios on repaying the interest and principal are sure to raise eyebrows in the arena debate. Essentially, the report concludes that state income tax collections from NBA players won't increase fast enough to cover the bond payments, creating the possibility that the state would have to tap its general fund to make up the difference.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin school districts are scrambling to revise their budget estimates after Gov. Scott Walker's biennial state budget proposed effectively cutting $127 million in education aid next year. Milwaukee Public Schools is facing a loss of at least $12 million next year as a result of that move, but plenty of well-to-do suburban districts — in areas that are overwhelmingly supportive of the governor politically — are acknowledging gaping budget holes, as well. The aid removal "definitely compounds the already massive fiscal challenges that Cedarburg and most other districts are already facing for next year," Cedarburg Superintendent Jonathan Lamberson said. The Ozaukee County district would lose about $430,000 next year if the proposal passes.

Capital Times
A measure tucked into Gov. Walker’s 2011 budget that effectively eliminated state income taxes on owners of factories and farms in Wisconsin is costing way more than predicted and contributing mightily to the current budget shortfalls. The Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit was hailed at the time as a job-creating effort that would let businesses invest the savings in new hires and equipment. But recent figures from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau show the credit will cost the state at least $275 million in additional lost tax collections over the next biennium, or more than double what was originally estimated.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“In an about-face from his first term, Gov. Scott Walker wants to eliminate funding for a University of Wisconsin-Madison renewable energy research center that has played a key role in helping land one of its biggest government grants ever. In his budget, Walker is proposing to eliminate $8.1 million over two years — a total of 35 positions — from a bioenergy program. The reductions are separate from his proposal to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System over the next two years. The research program, founded in 2009, is charged with developing technologies to convert wood chips, corn stalks and native grasses to homegrown sources of power. The program also funds research in other energy disciplines, including power generation and energy efficiency. Last year, Johnson Controls, the state's largest company, opened an energy storage research lab on the UW campus…UW officials say that Walker's proposal to end funding for the bioenergy program would cripple broader energy-development research that is receiving $25 million annually from the federal Department of Energy.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to shift property assessment duties from municipalities to counties is meeting resistance among assessors and county leaders. The Wisconsin Association of Assessing Officers voted this week to oppose the provision in its current form and the Wisconsin Counties Association issued a list of concerns about the plan. Both groups cited the tight transition timeline and a potential lack of funding for county assessing offices...Counties would be allowed to charge municipalities for the services — up to 95% of what they are currently paying for assessments. Schwandt said the plan wouldn't give counties nearly enough funding to finance assessing offices. Most municipalities have gotten rid of their in-house assessors in favor of contractors, sometimes going with the lowest bidder. In addition, he said, many assessors are doing low-labor maintenance work at an average cost of $6 per parcel. Doing the more labor-intensive work the provision demands — annual revaluations at 100% of market value — would cost around $25 per parcel. "You're getting $6 per parcel to do $25 per parcel work," Schwandt said. "That's just not feasible.

Bloomberg

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, facing a $283 million deficit that needs to be closed by the end of June, will skip more than $100 million in debt payments to balance the books thrown into disarray by his tax cuts.
The move comes as Walker, 47, mounts a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and while his state is under stress from a projected shortfall that could exceed $2 billion in the two-year budget beginning in July. Delaying the $108 million principal payment due in May on short-term debt would free funds. The move doesn’t require legislative approval, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said in a Feb. 13 memorandum. The terms of the debt sale allow Wisconsin to defer the payment in any given year, a procedure known as a restructuring, without defaulting.

Capital Times
"The for-profit college industry has engaged in the kinds of tactics and activities that should earn them more, not less, scrutiny," said Analiese Eicher, program director for the liberal group One Wisconsin Now and a former lobbyist for the United Council of UW Students. "Yet Gov. Walker's budget goes in exactly the wrong direction for Wisconsin students that are doing the right thing trying to get an education or job training. You have to wonder just who Gov. Walker is working to protect."

Capital Times
A proposal in Gov. Scott Walker’s two-year budget would likely make Wisconsin the only state without oversight of for-profit colleges, at a time when many others are ramping up their level of supervision over colleges that face heavy scrutiny throughout the nation. “I don’t know of any other state that would not have some kind of vetting of for-profit institutions,” said David Dies, director of Wisconsin’s Educational Approval Board.

Capital Times

“Critics of Gov. Scott Walker would say there are numerous lumps of coal buried in the $68 billion budget he unveiled a week ago. And Kate Sheppard of the Huffington Post found one that is literally a gift to the coal industry. It consists of $250,000 toward a study "on wind energy system-related health issues." Sheppard notes that such studies have been done in the past, finding no health effect caused by wind turbines. "The Wisconsin Wind Siting Council, an advisory group to the state's Public Service Commission, issued a report to the state Legislature last fall that concluded that 'some individuals residing in close proximity to wind turbines perceive audible noise and find it annoying,'" Sheppard writes. "But 'it appears that this group is in the minority and that most individuals do not experience annoyance, stress, or perceived adverse health effects due to the operation of wind turbines.'"

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker is proposing cuts in his budget for recycling, a move that represents more than a 50% reduction in funding to communities over a five-year period. In the two-year budget he unveiled on Feb. 3, Walker proposed $15 million in state spending for local recycling programs. That's a drop from $32.1 million in fiscal 2010-'11, according to budget figures. Recycling funds come from a $7 per ton tipping fee charged at landfills.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The employees include scientists and others with master's and doctoral degrees who perform research for the DNR on environmental regulation and wildlife management policy. Walker's budget would cut 18.4 positions in the Bureau of Scientific Services. The bureau has a total of 59.4 budgeted positions, although 9.4 are currently vacant. That would a 31% cut in total budgeted positions and a reduction of nearly 20% of the positions now filled in the bureau. All told, Walker's budget would cut 66 positions from the DNR. Of this, more than 25% would come from the science group. Environmentalists questioned whether scientists at the agency were coming under attack for research that has sometimes provoked criticism. But a northern Wisconsin lawmaker who has been critical of some DNR research agreed with Walker's plan.

Wisconsin State Journal
An unlimited number of Wisconsin students could use taxpayer dollars to attend private schools in the statewide voucher program, under Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed two-year budget. Walker would also start paying for the program with money that otherwise would go to public schools. In addition to eliminating the 1,000-student cap in the statewide voucher program, Walker’s proposed 2015-17 budget would create a new statewide board to authorize new charter schools. “Unfortunately, this budget proposal clearly prioritizes private school vouchers, the authorization of independent charters and politics over real support for public schools and our students,” Madison School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said in a statement.

Capital Times
Walker’s record on student loan debt is abominable, and it's getting worse. While he may be betting he won’t be around for the fallout, you can take it to the bank that slashing support for the UW and opening the floodgates for tuition hikes will explode student loan debt and drag down our state’s economy.

One Wisconsin Now

Reduced public investment in higher education, stagnant financial aid for eligible students and skyrocketing tuition. That’s why Wisconsin has the fourth highest percentage of college graduates with student loan debt in the nation and how over 40 million Americans have found themselves with over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recently-unveiled higher education budget plans will only exacerbate the burgeoning student loan debt crisis, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker isn't backing an increase in the gas tax and instead wants to rely on $1.3 billion in borrowing to fund transportation projects over the next two years. Under the Republican governor's plan, bonding for transportation would rise by about 30%, but the state's overall borrowing would drop. That's because Walker is recommending that the state delay construction of buildings that haven't already gotten initial approval, including for the University of Wisconsin System...The plan will allow Walker to tout his opposition to raising taxes as he considers a possible run for president. But the increased reliance on borrowing to fund highways may not go over well with his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature...Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) greeted the plan with deep skepticism. "To continue to just borrow and spend isn't fiscally responsible," he said in a statement. "We will certainly be pushing for a permanent fix instead of just more bonding."

Capital Times

`State lawmakers responded mostly along party lines to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to cut funding to the University of Wisconsin System by 13 percent over the next two years. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Walker will propose turning the 13 four-year campuses and 13 two-year colleges of the UW System into a public authority, giving the university more flexibility over a wide array of matters that are now mandated by state law.The UW System had requested $95 million from the 2015-17 budget, a request based largely on the financial impact of a second proposed tuition freeze. The governor will still move forward with the freeze, but the $300 million cut comes with more flexibility and autonomy for the university. [...] UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank told the Wisconsin State Journal that she expects layoffs "at every school and college." "To get through the demanding times ahead, we know that we will be called on to make challenging and difficult decisions. It won’t be easy. Taking a longer view, our new relationship with the state will allow us to leverage the System’s great resources, talent, and ideas to even better serve the people and economy of Wisconsin," said UW System president Ray Cross in a statement.

Express Milwaukee

The highly respected and nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released new projections showing that Wisconsin is ending its current budget with a $283 million deficit, more than twice what Walker’s aides said it would be just a few months ago. And Wisconsin is heading into a $2.2 billion deficit in its next budget cycle if Walker grants all of his state agency requests. Even if he doesn’t, Wisconsin will still have a $648 million hole in the next budget just to continue operating as it does now. Walker’s $283 million deficit is so big that it should trigger a budget repair bill, argued Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling (D-La Crosse), but the Walker administration doesn’t seem to be interested in proposing one. State law requires a balanced budget at the end of every cycle and a budget repair bill changes current spending to uphold the law. Walker should know that—almost immediately after taking office in 2011 he proposed one and it was his 2011 budget repair bill that included the union-busting provisions that sparked massive Capitol protests and made Walker the darling of billionaire tea party guys. Not surprisingly, Walker is trying to hush up the budget shortfalls created on his watch. Walker may be a fresh face in Iowa and California as he makes a case for himself as the Republican presidential nominee. However, his ideas are the same old failed policies of giving massive tax breaks to the rich, weakening the middle class and ending up with larger and larger budget deficits.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Perhaps with 2016 in mind, Gov. Scott Walker is pitching his Milwaukee arena proposal not as state assistance to a private company, but as a model of fiscal conservatism. Walker on Tuesday unveiled his proposal for investment in a new downtown arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. It's a largely local issue. But it's conceivable a potential presidential candidate could be asked about $220 million in state-issued bonds. Walker contends new growth in income tax revenue from Milwaukee Bucks players and visiting National Basketball Association teams will generate enough money to cover debt payments on the bonds. And he's ready with his talking points. "This is something we may promote to other chambers and other elected officials -- mayors and governors -- across the country," Walker said at a news conference. "Because I think this is one of the most creative ways of doing this in the country. Because you can look someone in the face and say there's not a penny in new taxes and there's not a penny that comes out of our current revenue stream. This is all based on growth. "This is the ultimate, free market, fiscally conservative approach going forward." We'll know soon what Walker's fellow Republicans in the GOP-run Legislature think of the idea. Walker said he would include the proposal in his state budget next week. Meanwhile, the conservative Americans for Prosperity for Wisconsin expressed disappointment:“While it appears that some protections are being put into place, the governor’s plan would put the state and taxpayers on the hook for future obligations," the group said in a statement. "Funding for sports arenas should not be the responsibility of the state and the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin."

One Wisconsin Now

Late yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker dismissed as a spelling error, a gaffe discovered by One Wisconsin Now that went viral following a story in The Capital Times in which he wished a constituent “molotov” instead of “mazel tov.” One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted math is a much bigger challenge for Walker as Wisconsin faces a budget deficit of over $2 billion, a pledge to create 250,000 jobs in his first term remains woefully unfulfilled and 1 million state student loan borrowers continue to wait for relief.

One Wisconsin Now

Two weeks after being elected for a second four-year term as Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker’s campaign is polling voters on his planned presidential run, asking favorability questions about various Republican and Democratic candidates, including fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, according to a One Wisconsin Now source who received the call Tuesday evening.

One Wisconsin Now

 Despite telling Wisconsin voters prior to the November 4 election that if elected his plan was to, “serve as governor for the next four years,” Gov. Scott Walker made a national television appearance on Sunday, a mere five days after election day, in which he very clearly touted himself as 2016 presidential timber. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that Walker’s weekend presidential posturing follows his election night speech in which he made mention of “Washington” as frequently as “Wisconsin.”

One Wisconsin Now

 In his election night speech after narrowly being re-elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker mentioned “Washington” as much as “Wisconsin”. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted Walker's eleven-minute speech in which he mentioned Wisconsin ten times, Washington nine times and America twelve times was a stunning display that Wisconsin's Governor has already moved on to his next electoral objective.

One Wisconsin Now

 In a deceptive new ad, the flailing campaign of Gov. Scott Walker is trying to whitewash his disastrous record on student loan debt and higher education. Speaking directly to camera, Walker ignores the fact students are paying $200 million in higher tuition as result of hikes he signed into law. Also unmentioned by Walker is that he’s stood in the way of a first in the nation state plan plan that would allow many of Wisconsin’s more than 800,000 student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can a mortgage.

One Wisconsin Now

 Gov. Scott Walker’s excuse during Friday's debate that Wisconsin doesn’t have a jobs problem, it has a “work problem,” is the latest and most offensive excuse by the flailing governor who promised 250,000 jobs, while putting Wisconsin dead last in the Midwest in job creation under his watch.

One Wisconsin Now

 Many of the state’s more than 800,000 student loan borrowers will be watching tonight’s gubernatorial debate to see how Gov. Scott Walker and former Trek executive Mary Burke address the $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

One Wisconsin Now

 Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke told the Associated Press her “first priority” as governor would be passing the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill to lower student debt. Burke’s plan would allow many of Wisconsin’s 800,000-plus student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at lower market rates, like one can with a mortgage, as well as a substantial middle class tax break for payments on student loans.

One Wisconsin Now

In his first term in office Gov. Scott Walker signed at least nineteen bills or budget provisions into law that were drawn from corporate bill factory the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He, along with the GOP legislature, also allowed a mining company that donated $700,000 to write large portions of a bill weakening the state’s laws on mining. Now running for re-election Gov. Walker continues “borrowing” from others, using the same campaign catch phrase as 21 other GOP governors and lifting a controversial portion of his jobs plan from a failed experiment in Florida.

One Wisconsin Now

Nearly one million Wisconsinites have student loan debt, part of the $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis that ensnares 40 million Americans. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, a recent college campus tour undertaken by the increasingly desperate campaign of Gov. Scott Walker earns failing grades for failing to take on the $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis.

WEAU-TV
Critics, such as One Wisconsin Now, are blasting Governor Walker's campus tour. They claim he hiked tuition in his first budget, flat-lined financial aid, and let legislation that would have helped current student borrowers refinance their loans die.

One Wisconsin Now

 As students across Wisconsin head back to school, it’s Gov. Scott Walker who needs to be educated about the impact of his wrong-headed education policies, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. Under Walker and his education policies, Wisconsin has had lagging job growth and rates of wage increases that trail neighboring states, earning him a failing grade.

One Wisconsin Now

 In a recent TV ad the increasingly desperate campaign of Gov. Walker claims to have eliminated budget deficits. But the release of new tax collection figures could put the current budget crafted by Gov. Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance and balloon a projected shortfall in the next budget to well over $1 billion.

One Wisconsin Now

A GOP-controlled committee examining changes to the governance and funding sources of the Wisconsin Technical College System appears poised to ignore the critical issue of affordability for students. A scope statement for the Legislative Council Study Committee on the Review of Technical College Funding indicates they will consider changes to governance and the funding mix between local and state revenue – but makes no mention of tuition for students and workers receiving training

One Wisconsin Now

As Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch continue a statewide election-year tour of Wisconsin's technical colleges, neither has explained why they have increased student loan debt hundreds of millions of dollars, gutted tech college funding by $70 million and opposed common sense reforms that would allow many of the state's nearly 1 million student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can a mortgage.

Capital Times
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, who has become a national leader on student loan debt issues, decried Walker’s “stunning lack of leadership.” “Wisconsin's student loan debtors had a pathway to real tax relief, but Governor Walker is only interested in tax breaks for corporations and the rich,” said Ross. “Drastic cuts to the University of Wisconsin, a 30 percent cut to the technical colleges, financial aid flatlined, and over $200 million more paid in tuition hikes: This is the Walker record.”

One Wisconsin Now

 With Gov. Scott Walker using “Tax Day” to announce his re-election campaign, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross railed against Walker for “his stunning lack of leadership” related to the stalled Higher Ed, Lower Debt student loan relief bill, which provides more than $80 million in annual tax relief for the state's student loan borrowers, according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Aiming to launch the state's economy and his own re-election bid, Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday night proposed using a budget surplus to trim taxes by a half-billion dollars...As Democrats point to job numbers that lag the nation and argue against giving Walker a second term, the governor is seeking a special legislative session to cut taxes by about $150 for the typical homeowner and spend an additional $35 million to train workers for in-demand jobs in fields such as manufacturing and computers. That would mark the third round of tax cuts for the governor and GOP lawmakers in the past year, with Walker touting the total reductions since he took office at around $2 billion.Part of that total included tax cuts that were approved before the governor took office but which took effect after his inauguration.

One Wisconsin Now

 In a closed-to-the-public meeting convened by the Walker administration, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and head of the state Revenue Department, Kleefisch asked of the assembled corporate special interests in the room, “how can we love you more?” On the eve of Governor Walker's State of the State address, when he is expected to unveil a new tax scheme, all signs point to the answers to Walker's question coming from the corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Shepherd Express

Recently, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch led a closed-door roundtable discussion about taxes with some business leaders in Beloit. After viewing footage of the meeting obtained by One Wisconsin Now, we can see why Kleefisch and the Walker administration didn’t want the public to hear what they discussed.

Wisconsin State Journal

One Wisconsin Now deputy director Mike Browne questioned why Walker would continue with trickle-down economic policies…
“You’re increasing a tax burden on those least able to pay,” Browne said of raising sales taxes. “I’m not quite sure what that helps in terms of having a tax code that treats everyone in Wisconsin fairly.”

One Wisconsin Now

Gov. Walker is publicizing multiple “forums” across the state where, at his direction, top administration officials talk tax policy changes with big business representatives. At the first stop in Beloit that featured Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, the Secretary of the Department of Revenue and business representatives, Kleefisch order the meeting closed to the public and media. Kleefisch has also refused to release a recording of the proceedings made by a taxpayer funded member of her staff.

One Wisconsin Now

It may be thirteen months before he stands for re-election as Wisconsin Governor, but Scott Walker and his special interest allies are already in full panic mode. According to legislative records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, Gov. Walker’s administration scrambled to have a property tax scheme drafted as a bill the same day as he announced it at a hastily called press conference and mere days after a Democratic opponent for the November 2014 election announced her candidacy.

One Wisconsin Now

In an appearance in Wisconsin today, Gov. Walker unveiled a new tax scheme he claimed would help Wisconsin homeowners and called for passing a bill within the next ten days. But according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the average Wisconsin homeowner would save a mere $13, or $1.08 per month, in 2013. The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross on Gov. Walker's latest scheme:

One Wisconsin Now

 The scandal surrounding Gov. Walker's attempt to reward an organization that endorsed him in his 2012 recall election with $500,000 in state tax dollars in the 2013-15 budget continues to grow. Breaking news reports today reveal that the group in question may in fact be a for-profit corporation that received at least $235,000 in income in 2011, courtesy of the right-wing Citizens for a Strong America. Yet according to information from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, there is no record of the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin filing a tax return or paying any income taxes for 2011 or 2012.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Walker's signing of the budget comes in time for the new fiscal year, which begins Monday. The final version of the budget will: Tax cuts. Cut income taxes by $651 million over two years and provide $30 million a year in income tax savings for the parents of the nearly 100,000 private school students in Wisconsin. Families could receive an income tax deduction of up to $4,000 for private school tuition paid for each kindergarten through eighth-grade student and up to $10,000 per high school student.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker will have new power to sell state heating plants, highways and other properties, but privatization deals in other states have ranged widely in popularity and success.Revenue from the sales must be put toward relieving the $8 billion state debt, according to the budget Walker planned to sign Sunday...Critics of privatization argue that selling state assets while helpful to fill short-term budget gaps often costs taxpayers more in the long term. The deals have immediate benefits for in-office politicians but rarely are good for the future, critics say.

Wisconsin State Journal

Signed the budget which gave taxpayers earning $300,000 a year a tax break 10 times larger that the tax break for median income families ($52,374) in Wisconsin. 2013 AB 40, Senate Vote In addition, “state taxpayers earning $50,000 or less a year would get an average break of $45 a year while those earning between $100,000 and $150,000 would see a cut of $272 a year”

One Wisconsin Now

In his twenty years in office, Scott Walker has amassed a truly astounding record of failure. To commemorate the looming anniversary of his first election to office, One Wisconsin Now is highlighting a different and depressing failure of Gov. Walker every day, for twenty days. On the final day of scheduled debate on the 2013 budget, we look at the intersection of the certainty of taxes and Gov. Walker's failure.

One Wisconsin Now

In his twenty years in office, Scott Walker has amassed a truly astounding record of failure. To commemorate the looming anniversary of his first election to office, One Wisconsin Now is highlighting a different and depressing failure of Gov. Walker every day, for twenty days. As the legislature prepares to begin debate on Gov. Walker's 2013-15 biennial budget, a review of some of the promises made by candidate Walker, and broken by Gov. Walker, is timely.

Wisconsin Budget Project

“One notable aspect about the new tax break for private school tuition is that any tax filer, no matter how high his or her income, is eligible to claim this deduction. Again, this stands in contrast to the deduction for higher education tuition; married couples earning more than $100,000 are not eligible for that deduction. Given that a large part of this tax break is likely to benefit wealthy people, it makes Wisconsin’s tax system more regressive, especially when paired with the $651 million income tax cut included in the current version of the budget that already favors the highest earners.”

One Wisconsin Now

In his 2010 campaign, Gov. Walker signaled support for a bill to ban the legislature from voting after 10pm because, “… nothing good happens after midnight. That's even more true in politics.” According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross it's too bad for the middle class and working families of Wisconsin that top legislative Republicans didn't take their Governor's advice. Instead, they signed-off on a two year budget deal in the middle of the night that includes a flat-tax scheme that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and a statewide expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Rep. Dale Kooyenga's announcement of a new GOP tax scheme doling out over $400 million in new tax breaks that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest in the state:

One Wisconsin Now

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is traveling to Iowa today to address a gathering of Republican Party activists in another of an increasing number out-of-state sojourns as he ponders a bid for national office. Also making the trip is One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, along with copies of the Walker “Resume of Failure.”

One Wisconsin Now

The just-filed lawsuit by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) over a contract signed by the Milwaukee Area Technical College comes thanks to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, the CEO of the Bradley Foundation, which has contributed $500,000 to WILL. The lawsuit seeks to undo a contract that will save taxpayers $14 million in its first year and nearly $150 million in the future.

One Wisconsin Now

The latest round of right-wing University of Wisconsin System bashing, this time over an annual report indicating the system has surpluses in several accounts, could be more bad news for students, their families and Wisconsin's economy according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross wondered whether Wisconsin Republicans and their businesses that have paid no state income tax in recent years will be joining the rest of us doing our part to help pay for services like education, health care, public safety and roads.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposes lifting a longtime prohibition on foreign ownership of large tracts of land in Wisconsin — a change that some legislators believe will allow other countries to gain too much control over some of the world's best farmland. The current law, enacted in 1887 and upheld by the state Supreme Court in 1976, bars foreign individuals or corporations from owning more than 640 acres in the state...But two Republicans are among legislators who oppose the proposed changes, saying the current law does a good job of protecting state economic interests.

One Wisconsin Now

In his nearly $68 billion state budget proposal, Gov. Walker larders special interests with sweetheart deals and doles out millions in tax breaks for the wealthiest Wisconsinites. But, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, not one cent is spent to provide direct relief to students or their families being crushed by the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis.

One Wisconsin Now

An initial analysis of Gov. Walker’s proposed income tax break in his 2013-15 budget shows, to no surprise, that the majority of the breaks go to the state’s wealthiest taxpayers. But, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Scot Ross, the billion-dollar question is: what’s the windfall for Gov. Scott Walker’s largest campaign contributor, and richest woman in Wisconsin, Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who paid no state income taxes in 2010.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Under Walker's proposal, districts would be opened up to voucher programs if they have at least 4,000 students and two school buildings receiving a grade of "fails to meet expectations" or "meets few expectations" on state report cards...Walker's budget plan would set the criteria for bringing school districts into the voucher system, rather than naming specific districts that would get the program. That means in future years other districts could be added to the program. Wisconsin has 42 districts with at least 4,000 students, but only nine have at least two schools with a failing grade. They are Beloit, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Sheboygan, Superior, Waukesha, and West Allis-West Milwaukee. The expansion would start small. This fall, just 500 students around the state could attend private schools at taxpayer expense outside of Milwaukee and eastern Racine County. That would increase to 1,000 the next year, and there would be no cap after that.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If the federal government keeps its current commitments, Gov. Scott Walker's plan for avoiding a full expansion of the BadgerCare program under the federal health care law would cost Wisconsin taxpayers roughly $250 million more through 2020, under preliminary estimates by the Legislature's nonpartisan budget office. In addition to lower state costs, the full expansion of the Medicaid health program would also cover tens of thousands more people than the Republican governor's proposal.

One Wisconsin Now

From appearances at Republican Party events in the Western Iowa media market to health care decisions designed to appease to Tea Party extremists instead of help Wisconsin families, Gov. Scott Walker’s top priorities appear to be his political ambitions. The recent announcement that he intends to spend nearly $11 million on a marketing campaign overseen by his scandal plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is more like a publicly funded, national advertising campaign for himself than a Wisconsin job creation strategy, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

One Wisconsin Now

The latest report from conservative front group the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance is more of an apology for Gov. Walker’s epic failure to spur new job creation in Wisconsin than an analysis of the reasons behind Wisconsin’s current rank as 42nd in the nation for job growth, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. The report alleges that it is the fault of Wisconsin’s population for being too old and lacking an entrepreneurial demeanor.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on Gov. Walker's silence on his campaign contributor and fundraiser Hank Greenberg suing the federal government over the taxpayer funded bailout of AIG. Greenberg hosted the notorious fundraiser for Walker in his Park Avenue apartment in New York the day nearly one million signatures were filed to recall Gov. Walker.

2013 Assembly Bill 40
As a result of the budget:
  • Due to the Republican plan to reject Medicaid expansion, taxpayers will pay $206 million more to provide healthcare to 84,700 fewer people
  • Instead of using a balanced approach, this budget takes a surplus built on record cuts to public schools and goes into future deficit in order to give a tax cut targeted toward the wealthiest people
  • Rolling back consumer protections to favor predatory payday loan shops, cable companies & makers of lead paint

2013 Assembly Bill 40
Walker’s 2013-15 Budget included Provisions that:
  • Made it harder for workers to access unemployment compensation benefits by reducing the number of allowable reasons to quit a job from 18 to 9.
  • Expanded the junk mail sales tax exemption created an income tax break for private school tuition (up to $10,000 per pupil), which is estimated to cost the state $30 million per year
  • Created an income tax break for private school tuition (up to $10,000 per pupil), which is estimated to cost the state $30 million per year

2013 SB 1 January 2014 Special Session
Provisions of the measure included:
  • For purposes of the state individual income tax, reduces the rate of taxation on the bottom income tax bracket from 4.4% to 4.0%.
  • Replaces the levy limit applicable to technical college districts with a revenue limit, and appropriates $406 million in 2014-15, and an annual sum based on a calculation thereafter, to the Wisconsin Technical College System for distribution to technical college districts in lieu of revenues from property taxes.
  • Allows certain tax credits to be used to offset liability under the alternative minimum tax.
  • Authorizes corporate tax filers to carry forward business losses for up to 20 years.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau

“Create a deduction from the individual income tax for amounts paid for tuition to a private school, beginning in tax year 2014. Limit the deduction to tuition expenses of up to $4,000 per year per pupil enrolled in kindergarten through grade eight and $10,000 per year per pupil enrolled in grades nine through twelve. Define claimant as an individual who claims a pupil as a dependent for federal income tax purposes on his or her tax return; define pupil as an individual who is enrolled in kindergarten or grades one to twelve and who is a dependent of the claimant for federal income tax purposes; and define tuition as any amount paid by a claimant, in the year to which the claim relates, for a pupil's tuition to attend a private school, as defined under current law, that meets all the criteria for a private school, as enumerated under current law.”

2013 Assembly Bill 40
The 2013-15 budget bill contained measures weakening consumer protection in Wisconsin, including:
  • retroactively throwing out lawsuits from individuals poisoned by lead paint;
  • easing regulations of predatory payday lending operations;
  • allowing cable companies to terminate service immediately after a missed payment and then charge a significant reconnection fee

2013 Assembly Bill 40
The budget:
  • Flatlined funding in student financial aid, even though tens of thousands of eligible students have been denied aid due to lack of funding
  • Cut the UW System’s budget by $66 million for the biennium while freezing system’s ability to raise revenue from tuition.

2013 Assembly Bill 40
The 2013-15 budget included measures that:
  • Continue the public education deficit created in the 2011-13 budget;
  • Expand the private school voucher program and increase its funding by $90 million;
  • Create an income tax deduction for private school tuition of up to $10,000, at a cost of $30 million per year; and
  • Eliminate funding for the Farm to School program

2013 Assembly Bill 40
The 2013-15 budget included provisions greatly expanding Wisconsin’s estate recovery program, allowing the state to recover Medicaid expenses from a deceased recipient’s estate or from the surviving spouse’s estate. The changes go far beyond requirements of federal law, and elder law attorneys warned the changes could lead to some elderly couples getting divorced or could make it more difficult for children to inherit family farms, businesses or other property.

One Wisconsin Now

Recent media reports on prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidates' money chase included Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on a list of suitors seeking an audience with GOP mega-donor and Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker may already have found his Super-PAC sugar daddy, the Wisconsin 'Money Badger', Michael Grebe of the Bradley Foundation.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Citing swelling numbers of Wisconsin college students who are eligible for state aid, but denied because of limited state funding, the University of Wisconsin System, the state association for independent colleges, the state technical college system and the College of Menominee Nation jointly endorsed a commission finding Tuesday calling for increased college aid in the next state budget. “Unfortunately, these recommendations aren’t going help when Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature continue to cut hundreds of millions from University of Wisconsin and raise tuition by over $100 million - adding evermore to the trillion-dollar student loan debt,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a liberal-issue advocacy organization based in Wisconsin.

Badger Herald

Wisconsin private landowners have registered more than a million acres in an open-managed forest program for recreational public use in exchange for tax subsidies. The report from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation indicated that in certain areas public use has been denied. Monday, legislators promised legislation to remove the legal loopholes in the hope of preventing property owners from receiving tax breaks while denying public usage, according to the report. One Wisconsin Now spokesperson Mike Browne said Walker’s Department of Natural Resources has failed to fulfill its purpose, calling Walker’s announcement of the mapping website “belated.” Browne said this is a “serious issue of fairness.” “Landowners are getting tax breaks in exchange for allowing public access; while the vast majority are holding up their end of the bargain, some are not,” Browne said.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding the 100th birthday of the late corporate propagandist Milton Friedman. Many of the failures of Gov. Scott Walker can be traced to the policies espoused by Friedman, most notably massive tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, while attacking public investments and public employees.

NPR

Governor Scott Walker is not trying to win the Wisconsin recall election that will be held June 5. He is trying to buy it. As One Wisconsin Now’s Mike Browne says: “Given Wisconsin’s worst in the nation record on jobs and the cuts to schools and health care to pay for corporate tax breaks under Gov. Walker, it’s really no surprise his ‘divide and conquer’ politics and trickle-down economics are more popular with people who don’t have to live with the results.

PolitiFact

Critics of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have condemned his funding cuts to schools and tax breaks for businesses and wealthier individuals… We rated Half True a claim by the liberal One Wisconsin Now group that tax breaks approved for corporations and the rich would cost taxpayers $2.3 billion over a decade. The changes aren’t a cost to taxpayers in the normal sense, because the tax breaks mean less will be paid in taxes.

Capital Times
Slipped into Gov. Scott Walker's 2011-2013 budget at the last moment, the domestic production tax credit will cost the state $360 million in revenue over the next four years and some $130 million each year thereafter, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Critics warn the impact could be even greater, a key point in a state still struggling with budget shortfalls. The credit applies to profits derived from manufacturing or agriculture and is available both to corporations and shareholders of limited liability companies, S corporations or others who report business income on their individual tax returns. As a result, top bracket taxpayers could see their state income tax rate fall from 7.75 percent to less than zero by 2016, when the credit fully kicks in. That's because any unused credits can be counted against other income, like stock dividends, and carried over for up to 15 years.

One Wisconsin Now

It has been reported that Gov. Scott Walker has spent much of the last year on a cross- country cash grab - filling his campaign coffers with millions from right-wing ideologues like “Swift Boat” Bob Perry, Newt Gingrich “Sugar Daddy” Sheldon Adelson, Women's health “expert” Foster Friess, and, of course, Wisconsin's own “Divide and Conquer” billionaire, Diane Hendricks.

One Wisconsin Now

The business of Gov. Scott Walker’s “co-star” in the controversial “Divide and Conquer” video clip, billionaire widow Diane Hendricks, paid no taxes in 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008 (the latest year for which records were available) according to a report from the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future. Yet, amazingly, in the video clip released late last week, Ms. Hendricks complains Wisconsin did not provide business enough incentives.

Capital Times

Last summer, the state Legislature reduced the amount of money low- income families can receive in tax credits by $56.2 million. That put Wisconsin among a handful of states that are effectively raising taxes on their poorest residents in 2012, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At the same time, Gov. Scott Walker’s budget provided some $2.3 billion in tax cuts and other incentives for corporations and the wealthy over the next 10 years, according to One Wisconsin Now, a left-leaning political group.

One Wisconsin Now

2010 Politifact “Lie of the Year” award winner, GOP pollster Frank Luntz, addressed a gathering of CEOs sponsored by the state’s big business lobby today in Madison. One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne said Luntz will have his work cut out for him trying to boost Gov. Scott Walker’s record of job losses and policies that cut education and health care while doling out tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporations.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The state’s budget projections have deteriorated by $216 million, opening a new shortfall for Gov. Scott Walker to confront amid the political dogfight of a likely recall election. The estimates by the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office show that a drop in expected tax collections has opened the hole, which after counting the state’s previous cash reserves leaves the state with a projected $143 million budget deficit in its main account through June 2013.

One Wisconsin Now

Governor Scott Walker failed to tackle Wisconsin’s jobs crisis - posting six straight months of job losses here while nationally jobs are being added - and is now poised to take on “the truth” in his second State of the State address.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker's administration has touted for months its efforts to balance the state budget, but now it also has acknowledged a significant way in which the budget isn't balanced. To keep the possibility alive of making further cuts to state health programs, the Walker administration quietly certified to the federal government on Dec. 29 that the state had a deficit. Federal law allows the state to drop tens of thousands of adults to save money on health care costs if the state can show it has a deficit. Walker has said he wants to cut health care spending in other ways, but hasn't ruled out dropping those 53,000 adults if the other methods aren't approved by the federal government. To keep that option alive, state Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch wrote in a December letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state would have an undisclosed deficit from Jan. 1 of this year through June 30, 2013. "It's nothing more than what we've been saying all along," Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said.

Milwaukee Small Business Times
“In just one year, Gov. Scott Walker has failed the people of Wisconsin as no other elected official in our state has. Continuing job loss, while nationally the rest of the country gains jobs. The largest cuts to public education of our students in our state’s history. More than 65,000 people including 29,000 children about to lose their health care. Radical attacks on the rights of Wisconsin workers and voters. And to top it off, an unconscionable $70 million hike on taxes for seniors and the working poor, while Walker signed $2.3 billion in new tax breaks for corporations and the rich.” [

One Wisconsin Now

The failed economic agenda of Gov. Scott Walker continues as grim and disturbing news came today from the U.S. Department of Labor that for the week ending December 31, the state of Wisconsin had the second highest number of new unemployment claims of any state in the nation - 10,203 new claims. Michigan with 10,364 new claims, was the only state higher than Wisconsin.

One Wisconsin Now

The latest ad in Gov. Scott Walker’s multi-million dollar campaign continues to distort Walker’s record of failure on job creation and deficit reduction, including the false claim that Walker did not raise taxes.

One Wisconsin Now

A comprehensive analysis entitled “D is for Dismantle,” authored by the non-partisan One Wisconsin Institute shows that despite claims from Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin schools are not failing, instead his budget cuts and disastrous education policies endanger our proud tradition of excellent schools. The report from One Wisconsin Institute, the education and research partner of One Wisconsin Now, includes research that contradicts Gov. Walker's assertions about public schools and students not performing at the highest levels.

One Wisconsin Now

The Monona Grove school district cited in Gov. Scott Walker’s latest deceptive television ad as being a success story, has lost teachers, seen higher class sizes rise throughout the curriculum as result of Walker’s historic $1.6 billion gutting of public education.

2011 WI Act 32
2011 WI Act 32: On June 26, 2011, Walker signed the budget into law, which allowed the UW System to increase tuition 5.5% annually, over $107 million over the biennium. The tuition increase was allowed in part due to the $250 million in cuts made to the general program operations for the UW System by Walker and the GOP controlled legislature. (2011 Assembly Bill 40; Legislative Fiscal Bureau, June 13, 2011; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call; 2011 WI Act 32, signed into law 6/26/2011; 2011 WI Act 32 Comparative Budget Summary, University of Wisconsin System, page 749, #3)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

To fill a half-billion dollar budget hole in state health programs, Gov. Scott Walker's administration wants to raise premiums sharply for some families and shift hundreds of thousands of residents to lower-cost state plans or private plans. Officials said they do not intend to leave participants without any path to coverage. State officials said there is now a $554 million estimated deficit - $110 million more than previously projected - through June 2013 in state Medicaid health programs, which provide everything from doctor's visits for poor families to nursing home care for the elderly. To close that gap and control fast-growing costs, state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith said that the state would avoid dropping state residents with no other options for health insurance. Instead, officials will look at shifting more than 200,000 state Medicaid recipients into a lower-cost plan with fewer benefits.

Enewspf.com
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding the latest failure from Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature: a total job loss of 2,300 from July to August and the unemployment rate rising to 7.9 percent. The news comes after Walker signed into law $2.3 billion in new tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, while gutting public and higher education and health care, as well as stripping 175,000 workers of their rights.

CNBC

Scot Ross of the liberal muckraking group One Wisconsin Now jumped on the latest report. “Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans controlling the Legislature promised us new jobs and they have delivered nothing but new corporate tax breaks and attacks on Wisconsin’s way of life,” he said in a statement. “This latest startling news, that 12,500 private sector jobs were lost in July, is the latest sign that Walker’s scheme of enriching corporate donors with our education and health care tax dollars is a failure.”

Wisconsin State Journal

Despite Gov. Scott Walker’s six-month sell-off of Wisconsin state government to corporate special interests at the cost of nearly $2 billion over the next decade, General Electric’s X-ray business just announced it is moving its Waukesha headquarters to Beijing, China. Walker and the Republican Legislature just handed out nearly $2 billion in new corporate tax breaks at the expense of schools, kids, seniors and workers. With this news, will Walker and the Republican Legislature finally admit that corporate tax breaks are a failure?

Legislative Fiscal Bureau
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker increased fees by over $136 million:
  • Eliminate registration exemption for certain investment advisors
  • Certification fee for persons making title loans
  • Nonprofit organization criminal history record check fee
  • Beer wholesaler’s permit fee
  • Vehicle title fee
  • Class D skills test fee
  • Electronic business transactions
  • Firefighter and emergency medical technician license plates
  • Tuition increase (University of Wisconsin System)
  • Student technology fee revenues (Wisconsin Technical College System)

Legislative Fiscal Bureau
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker signed into law two sales tax exemptions for snowmaking and promotional direct mail. The sales and use tax exemptions go into effect July 1, 2013 and cover snowmaking and snow-grooming equipment and related fuel, parts and accessories. The direct mail sales tax exemption covers advertising and promotional direct mail. (Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo, State Tax and Fee Modifications Included in 2011 Act 32)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Politi-Fact gave the Governor a “Pants on Fire Rating” after he promised he would pass a budget without fee increases yet the Legislative Fiscal Bureau had determined the budget would raise nine fees over two years by $133 million and reduce eight other fees by $22 million; a net increase in fees of $111 million. Some of the major fee increases include: College tuition, $107 million. Lender fees: Licensed lenders would have to pay a new $5,000 annual fee in order to make motor vehicle title loans, raising $500,000 over two years. Driver's license tests, $634,600 over two years. Background checks, an additional $580,000 in fees.

2011 WI Act 32
Walker's first state budget included two tax increases on working families: changing the Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC) and removing the indexing of inflation from the homestead property tax relief program.
  • The change to the EITC totals $56 million over the biennium: “The cuts to the earned income credit would total $56.2 million over two years, $12.7 million more than the cuts proposed by Walker, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has described Walker’s proposal as a state income tax increase.”
  • The change to the Homestead program results in a $13.6 million tax increase: The Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo detailing the tax increases in Walker’s original budget is here.
  • Almost 275,000 working families benefit from the EITC tax relief and 250,000 Wisconsin residents are affected by the change to the homestead program.
  • About one-third of Homestead claimants (over 75,000) are over 65 years old.

2011 WI Act 32
On June 26, 2011, Walker signed the budget, which allows big corporations to write off business losses before 2009 from their tax liabilities. Only around 400 companies out of more than 40,000 would be able to use this loophole, with a big 2011-13 cost of $46.4 million for taxpayers, and $320million through 2021. One specific bank that could benefit from the loophole is Marshall & Ilsley Corp, which lost about $2 billion in 2008 alone. (“Walker’s Proposed Tax Change: More money for corporations, less for state,” by Mary Spicuzza. Wisconsin State Journal May 1, 2011) (2011-13 Budget Paper #317; Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo, June 9, 2011; 2011 Assembly Bill 40; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call;)

2011 WI Act 32
Youth who are the children of undocumented immigrants are no longer allowed to pay the resident tuition rate to attend the UW System or a technical college. They had the right to pay resident tuition, if they are graduates of a Wisconsin high school, have lived in the state for at least three years and have proof they are applying for a visa to be eligible for resident rates. The right to pay at the resident level tuition rate does not cost the state anything, so this change is simply mean spirited and makes it impossible for these youth to afford a higher education. (For example: the 2011-12 resident tuition at UW-Madison is $9,490; the non-resident tuition is $25,240). (2011 Assembly Bill 40, inroduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker slashed over $71.6 million in state aid from the technical college system, a 30% reduction, and capped tech college’s ability to raise additional funds through property tax increases. (Legislative Fiscal Bureau Comparative budget summary, Technical College System, #4; 2011 Assembly Bill 40; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker repealed current provisions that authorize the Public Service Commission to spend more than 1.2% of their annual operating revenues on energy efficiency and renewable resource programs, if approved by the Joint Committee on Finance. Effective January 1, 2012, the budget prohibits the PSC from requiring any energy utility to spend more than 1.2% of its annual operating revenues on energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. In December 2010, the Finance Committee voted to require contribution levels of $120 million in 2011, $160 million in 2012, $204 million in 2013 and $256 million in 2014 and thereafter. At that time, PSC staff estimated the 1.2% requirement would generate contribution levels of approximately $100 million in 2011 and 2012, therefore this provision would reduce 2012 contributions from $160 million to $100 million. Extrapolated through 2014, that’s a reduction of $340 million. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparative Budget Summary, Public Service Commission, #8; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
Walker signed into law a provision in the budget which lifted provisions barring 16 and 17-year-olds from working more than 26 hours during a school week and more than 50 hours a week during vacations, potentially exposing young workers to exploitation by employers. The Department of Workforce Development, which enforces child labor regulations, is actually prohibited from improving protections through the administrative rules process. (2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker signed into law cuts of $234 million from the state stewardship program, which allows the Department of Natural Resources to acquire land and provide grants to local units of government and non-profit conservation organizations for land acquisition, easements and nature-based outdoor recreational property development activities. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparitive Budget Summary, Department of Natural Resources Budget Summary, Stewardship Program; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker signed into law cuts of $3 million in tobacco use control grants, allocated to a range of organizations for tobacco cessation activities, like the tobacco quitline and youth tobacco cessation. (2011-13 Executive Budget Comparative Summary, Department of Health Services, page 402; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call; 2011 WI Act 32 signed into law 6/26/2011)

2011 WI Act 32
On June 26, 2011, Walker signed the budget, which contained his proposal to cut $500 million from Medical Assistance programs. The proposal does not exclude any specific groups from receiving the program cuts, which means seniors and people with disabilities, who account for 20% of total Medicaid enrollment and 67% of total Medicaid spending, will likely be impacted by the cuts. At the end of January 2011, nearly 300,000 seniors and people with disabilities were enrolled in Medicaid-related programs. (2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) (Disability Rights Wisconsin Fact Sheet) In addition, the budget contained Walker’s proposal to cut FamilyCare spending by more than $284 million over the biennium and freeze enrollment (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/20/2011). FamilyCare helps around 35,000 seniors and disabled stay independent at home and in their communities. (Disability Rights Wisconsin Fact Sheet).

2011 WI Act 32
Walker signed into law $9.6 million in cuts to mass transit operating expenses for the biennium. The cuts have the biggest impact on the Milwaukee and Madison transit systems ($5,576,500 and $1,465,200 respectively). (2011-13 Executive Budget Comparative Summary, Department of Transportation, page 667; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
Walker signed into law the 2011-13 budget, which cut school aids by approximately $800 million and reduced the revenue limit per pupil by 5.5% in fiscal year 2012. The Department of Public Instruction put the total combined cuts at $1.6 billion over the 2011-13 biennium as compared to previous statute. This is the first decrease ever in revenue caps. (Department of Public Instruction WASDA Survey Summary; Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo, “2011-13 Comparative Summary of Budget Recommendations,” June 2011; 2011 Assembly Bill 40; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the 2011-13 budget, Walker signed into law the deletion of a revenue tax adjustments available to schools to help cover the costs of having school nurses. (Legislative Fiscal Bureau Comparative budget summary, Public Instruction, #11; 2011 Assembly Bill 40; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
Walker eliminated the Green to Gold Fund, administered by the now defunct Department of Commerce. This was a “green jobs” initiative to encourage new manufacturing and technology related to the development of clean energy, so the state could gradually reduce its reliance on foreign oil. This fund offered $100 million in lower cost loans to manufacturers to retool and expand production related to clean energy. It required specific wage standards as a condition of the loan along with job creation and retention targets (2010 SB 651). The Office of Energy Independence is abolished as well. (2011 Act 32 Budget Comparison, Commerce Budget Summary, page 203, #14; 2011 Act 32 Budget Comparison, Administration Budget Summary, page 51, #19; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, inroduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
In the budget, Walker signed into law a provision that allows the Department of Transportation to take money from other major projects funded through major highway development, state highway rehabilitation, and southeast Wisconsin megaprojects programs for costs associated with the reconstruction of the Hoan Bridge and I-794 in Milwaukee County. (2011-13 Executive Budget Comparative Summary, Department of Transportation, page 686; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
Walker signed the state budget, which cut $24 million from the municipal and county recycling grant program over the biennium. In Walker’s proposed executive budget, he entirely eliminated funding for the recycling grant program and repealed the requirement for local governments to implement recycling programs. After public backlash, the GOP controlled legislature restored $40 million to the program (previously a $65 million program) and restored the current recycling mandates. Walker also eliminated the recycling and renewable energy fund, which collected revenues from recycling tipping fees and electronic waste and newspaper recycling fees, and created a new “economic development” fund in which he deposited some of the recycling fees and surcharges, with the remaining portion of the fees going into an “environmental” fund. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparative Budget Summary, Department of Natural Resources Budget Summary, Page 514-520; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
Effective January 1, 2012, there will be a one-week waiting period before an unemployed worker can collect benefits. The inclusion of this change in the State Budget was made unilaterally by Republicans in the Legislature. Despite a veto request by all labor and management representatives on the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, Governor Walker signed this into law. For decades, the Advisory Council has made changes to UI benefits through a balanced, negotiated agreement involving employers and labor. The Department of Workforce Development estimates that workers will lose $41 million to $56 million in benefits due to the waiting period, depending on the unemployment rate. (2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

2011 WI Act 32
2011 WI Act 32: In the budget, Walker eliminated the Office of Energy Independence, which as part of the Department of Commerce. The Office provided long term-planning and development of Wisconsin fuel, technologies and business practices to reduce the state’s dependency on foreign energy.

CBS News

Headline: Wis. Gov. signs budget cutting education $1.85B. “Democrats assailed the budget as an attack on middle class values since it cuts funding for public schools by $800 million, reduces funding to the UW system by $250 million and cuts tax credits for poor people. It also reduces the amount schools can collect from property taxes and other revenue combined, which translates into another education cut of about $800 million. While schools are seeing deep cuts, Walker's budget extends tax breaks to manufacturers, multistate corporations and investors.”

Wisconsin State Journal
Focus on Energy, a statewide program that promotes energy efficiency, is in the midst of big changes: new management by an out-of-state corporation, suspension of a popular rebate program, and sharp funding cuts in the pending state budget. Nearly 20 people already have lost their jobs, mostly in Madison, as a result of the management change. Meanwhile, dozens of small Wisconsin businesses that specialize in setting up solar panels and wind turbines fear for their futures because of the slashed allocation and rebate removal...

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s planned signing of the 2011-13 Wisconsin state budget on Sunday. Walker’s budget includes tax breaks for corporations and the rich that will cost the state of Wisconsin taxpayers $2.3 billion over the next decade. At the same time, they are raising taxes on the working poor by $70 million, dismantling public education by $1.6 billion and slashing the University of Wisconsin by $250 million.

The Nation

Opponents of Walker’s budget plan also say it’s laughable that Republicans are claiming to be fiscally responsible when they’re guaranteeing the future bankruptcy of the state. Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive advocacy group, said the cost of the budget’s tax cuts will “skyrocket” in coming years. “In the next 10 years…” A particular point of contention are those corporate tax breaks Walker is dealing out in the midst of these harsh budget cuts. ”Part of the reason we had deficit problems in Wisconsin …” Ross said. “So when the economy collapsed, people were spending less money…”

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

In March, UW-Eau Claire expected a $5.1 million cut based on Walker's budget proposal, but that went up to $6.3 million with the version approved this week by the state Legislature. UW-Stout’s university's spokesman, Doug Mell, said the $3.85 million cut estimated for UW-Stout based on earlier budgets would go above $4 million under the Legislature-approved one...The Legislature also is allowing a tuition increase of up to 5.5 percent, which will soften the blow of cuts to institutions, but not offset the entire amount. At UW-Eau Claire, Rindo said an additional 5.5 percent in tuition revenue would bring $3.4 million to the university, a little more than half the cut in state support. The state contributed 64 percent of funding for instructional expenses in the 2000-01 school year, he said. The newest budget funds 44 percent of the university's instructional costs, with tuition picking up the rest. "We're now, for instruction, more tuition-based than state-based," Rindo said.

WBAY
The drums and chants started near the protesters’ “Walkerville” tent city outside the Capitol. The crowd of roughly 150 made its way from the Capitol hill toward the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce building to denounce the business association’s support of Governor Walker’s budget. “We deserve a legislative agenda and they have turned it into a hostile takeover of corporations taking our money over and over and over again,” One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross said.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau

Instead of using the budget bill for all tax changes as is typically done during a budget session, the Walker signed into law a number of bills prior to the budget bill that all that take effect with the 2011-13 fiscal year. The net effect of those bills is to decrease expected state tax revenue by in the 2011-13 biennium by about $208 million. These bills affected the budgetary choices for the 2011-2013 biennium by reducing the amount of revenue available to invest in programs like education and health care. A Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo puts the 10-year cost of these tax cuts at an astounding $2.33 billion.

One Wisconsin Now

Massive attacks against health care, education and middle class priorities launched by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority are the focus of a “Run Against Walker,” scheduled at the State Capitol today. The “Run Against Walker,” a run/walk for citizens organized by One Wisconsin Now as part of the “Walkerville” activities on the State Capitol Square, will accommodate both runners and walkers who are united against Walker’s attacks on the middle class.

Associated Press
Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to break off the Madison campus from the rest of the University of Wisconsin System is dead after a lack of support for the split… The two ongoing topics of debate are what freedoms will be granted to the campuses and how will they be implemented, and how will the governor's proposed $250 million cut be spread out. Madison would have taken half of it, or $125 million. Biddy Martin, UW Chancellor, who supported Walker's plan, said the campus needed the autonomy he was proposing in order to deal with that cut.

Politifact

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker"s core theme on the campaign trail in 2010 was a firm stance against any tax increases. Walker and his opponent in the Republican primary, Mark Neumann, emphatically said they would not raise any taxes, ever...And like hundreds of conservative candidates before him, Walker signed the Americans for Tax Reform"s "Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” promising to "oppose and veto any and all efforts” to increase taxes

Politifact

Walker’s controversial budget-repair bill, unveiled in February 2011, did not propose tax increases. But what about his 2011-"13 budget? It included some tax cuts, but also tax increases. That’s according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which both parties have long cited as a neutral scorekeeper on budget matters. The bureau determined that Walker included three tax increases in the budget totaling $49.4 million over the two-year period. The largest involved a reduction in a state tax credit for low-income working families, known as the earned income credit...A second tax increase, the fiscal bureau said, is stopping the inflationary adjustment of the state’s Homestead Tax Credit -- the property tax break that appears as a credit on income tax forms for low-income homeowners and renters.

One Wisconsin Now

A comprehensive analysis authored by the non-partisan One Wisconsin Institute shows that despite claims from Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin is not “broke.” The Institute's research contradicts Gov. Walker's assertion, pointing out Wisconsin's Gross Domestic Product has steadily rose the past twenty years and Wisconsin has plenty of overall wealth - but this wealth has shifted to those at the top of the income ladder, while Wisconsin's tax structure is built around the middle class.

WI Act 13

Walker signed into law a bill that required the secretary of employee trust funds to allocate $28,000,000, from reserve accounts established in the public employee trust fund for group health and pharmacy benefits for state employees, to reduce employer costs for providing group health insurance for state employees for the period beginning on July 1, 2011, and ending on December 31, 2011. This bill SS-SB12 passed the Senate 22-11, with all Republicans and three Democrats supporting the bill. On the same day, the Assembly passed the bill 58-36 and the governor signed the bill into law on April 6, 2011. (2011 January Special Session SB 12, introduced 3/31/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)

One Wisconsin Now

Gov. Scott Walker has announced a $75,000 taxpayer-financed grant to a company, who along with its Chief Executive Officer, donated nearly $50,000 in 2010 to the Republican Governors Association, which spent $5 million to elect Walker governor, according to a figures obtained from the Internal Revenue Service by One Wisconsin Now. Walker announced the taxpayer-financed grant to the company, Jack Links, Tuesday in a press release.

One Wisconsin Now

The names of nearly 16,000 Wisconsinites who have signed One Wisconsin Now’s online petition in just over the last week demanding an end to Gov. Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on public education were deliver today to the Governor and leaders of the state Joint Finance Committee. JFC has a scheduling hearing today to discuss Walker’s plans to cut of $834 million from public education, skyrocket tuition for students in Wisconsin and dismantle the technical college system — all to pay for unprecedented tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest.

Wisconsin State Journal

“It is literally every single bad conservative idea of the last 20 years housed in a single budget document,” said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now.

One Wisconsin Now

Gov. Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on the public education of children across Wisconsin is part of a dismantling of the middle class tool box to enrich the wealthy and corporate America and Wall Street. Gov. Walker’s budget actions would cut $834 million from public education, skyrocket tuition for students in Wisconsin and dismantle the technical college system - all to pay for unprecedented tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest.

CommonDreams
“Considering how the Republicans plan to slash $900 million from our public schools, cut health care for 1 million Wisconsinites, raise prescription drug costs for countless seniors, raise taxes on the working poor by $51 million while at the same time handing $200 million in tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate special interests, Sen. Fitzgerald might better spend his time convincing his fractured caucus that Gov. Walker isn’t sacrificing their majority in pursuit of higher office.”

Associated Press
On the chopping block in Walker’s two-year budget proposal are early release programs for prisoners, in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives, college financial aid for high school grads who are good citizens and public financing for Supreme Court campaigns...Walker wants to repeal an inmate early release program enacted two years ago and revert to a 1999 truth-in-sentencing law he sponsored as an Assembly member that requires prisoners to serve their entire sentence without time taken off for good behavior. Doyle had touted the early release program as a way to both save money and relieve prison crowding.

Associated Press

On the chopping block in Walker’s two-year budget proposal are early release programs for prisoners, in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives, college financial aid for high school grads who are good citizens and public financing for Supreme Court campaigns...Walker’s budget plan also would ax a Democratic initiative approved under Doyle that grants in-state college tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants, so long as the students have graduated from a Wisconsin high school and lived in the state for at least three years.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would reduce a tax credit program for many of the working poor by $41.3 million over two years - a change that critics say violates his pledge not to raise any taxes…”He is increasing taxes on the working poor,” said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now. “Where is the shared sacrifice? The wealthy, as always, are coming out ahead.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“About 55,000 people could lose their health insurance under the state's BadgerCare program, under Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan released Tuesday. Walker's budget also would shrink aid to Wisconsin Works participants and could mean reduced state child care subsidies to low-income families. In an effort to slow the growth in spending on Medicaid, Walker says he will seek permission from the federal government to tighten eligibility standards and would cut off people faster who are found no longer eligible. If the federal government does not give the state permission to toughen its standards in determining who gets Medicaid, the state would eliminate coverage to families that earn more than 133% of the federal poverty level on July 1, 2012. That threshold currently is $24,352 a year for a family of three.”

C-SPAN
Scot Ross talked about the ongoing legislative battle between the governor of Wisconsin and state Democrats on the budget, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Part of Governor Scott Walker’s budget includes a proposal that would end almost all collective bargaining rights…

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Scot Ross (far right corner), executive director of One Wisconsin Now speaks at a rally outside of the State Capital on day 11 of protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.

Appleton Post-Crescent
Appleton Post Crescent Editorial: Prescription for trouble / Agency would make decisions on medical assistance: Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill has another provision that can have a huge impact on people who have little voice. The provision authorizes the state Department of Health Services to make changes in medical assistance programs, such as the BadgerCare programs, Family Care and SeniorCare... But currently, changes in the program have to go through the full Legislature - starting as a bill and being passed into law. Walker wants to largely bypass the Legislature to allow for the programs to be changed by an agency… That takes power away from us, too. In turn, it gives power to Dennis Smith, the Health Services secretary. Not much more than a year ago, Smith wrote in his job as a fellow at the Heritage Foundation that states would be better off leaving Medicaid because of the health reform law.

Progressive States
The Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, Scot Ross, commented that he was “handing out [millions] in special interest spending to his corporate pals and he’s going to make our children pay for it by taking loans the state was ready to pay off and borrow more money on them.”

Faithful Progressive
“Walker keeps talking about how the state is broke, yet he had no problem making $3.8 billion in campaign pledges to the wealthy to reduce the state’s tax collections,” Pocan charged, citing figures estimated by the liberal advocacy group, One Wisconsin Now. “Furthermore, he later promised an additional $1.5 billion pledge to repeal the corporate income tax.”

Wisconsin State Journal

“Walker keeps talking about how the state is broke, yet he had no problem making $3.8 billion in campaign pledges to the wealthy to reduce the state’s tax collections,” Pocan charged, citing figures estimated by the liberal advocacy group, One Wisconsin Now. “Furthermore, he later promised an additional $1.5 billion pledge to repeal the corporate income tax.”

Capital Times

Scot Ross of the left-leaning group One Wisconsin Now went a step further, calling the Walker plan a “handout in special interest spending to his corporate pals.” Ross was referring to $117.2 million in tax breaks approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in January. Those items making health savings accounts tax deductible, tax deductions for businesses that relocate and tax exclusions for hiring new employees.

Mark Pocan
Up until now, Walker has been successful in spinning his fake budget crisis. However, Walker has been so careless in his pledges, that One Wisconsin Now has captured every single special-interest pledge Governor Gimmick (Walker’s new nickname) has made. You can find a citation for every single dollar of the nearly $5.3 billion in pledges here and here.

One Wisconsin Now

Faced with growing protests in cities around Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker today asked for a second extension from the legislature to delay in providing the specifics of his proposed 2011-13 state budget. Walker now wants to give his speech on Tuesday, but not provide the press and the public with the details of his proposals until a later date.

Unions
One Wisconsin Now, the progressive watchdog group that has provided the closest monitoring of Walker’s budgetary gamesmanship, explains: “Since his inauguration in early January, Walker has approved $140 million in new special-interest

RiverTowns.net
Scot Ross of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now said no governor has used the military against public employees as far back as the 1930’s. He said current events show “just how radical the steps are that Gov. Walker is taking to consolidate his power.”

One Wisconsin Now

Gov. Scott Walker’s scheme to allow the government to take away the rights of Wisconsin workers is part of an unbalanced and potentially unconstitutional proposal that would add at least $30 million to the state’s credit card and allow the Governor’s health agency director to slash health care access and raise costs without the approval of the legislature.

Capital Times
Shrapnel from the crashing Truth-O-Meter then hit the progressive political organization, One Wisconsin Now. The group added up the cost of three Walker tax giveaways, noting the governor had added $140 million in new special interest spending to the state’s mounting budget deficit.

Capital Times

Scot Ross of the progressive Advocacy Group One Wisconsin Now added: “You take away people’s rights and then use the National Guard to back it up. If this was happening in another country, we’d call it a Banana Republic.”

Wisconsin State Journal
“That Gov. Walker’s new secretary in charge of these programs has both advocated for states ‘dropping out’ from federal Medicaid assistance and has not made a commitment to keeping SeniorCare is enormously troubling,” said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
But one of Walker’s political antagonists, Madison-based One Wisconsin Now, has slammed the three bills. In a Jan. 28, 2011, news release, the liberal advocacy group said: “Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature have added over $140 million in new special interest spending.” So, which is it? Tax cuts or spending?

Ashland Current
“Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans are willing to do anything to ensure the wealthiest Wisconsinites never have their taxes raised again,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “The people of Wisconsin are once again seeing Republicans bend over backwards to address the corporate special interest wish list and ignore the promise to create jobs and reduce the deficit. Let’s not forget, we are talking about a list of taxes that haven’t been raised since Gov. Walker was in junior high school.”

One Wisconsin Now

MADISON, Wis. — Despite the state’s $3.3 billion deficit, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature have added over $140 million in new special interest spending to that tab. Walker and the Republicans have refused to show the job creation this spending will create.

One Wisconsin Now

Insurance companies across the state could see a mass exodus of existing Wisconsin customers if rates do not drop immediately after passage of an insurance lobby-supported bill to reduce the required insurance coverage for state drivers. The insurance lobby has blamed required insurance levels for raising rates, leaving customers to reasonably expect rates to drop when the bill passes as part of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority’s historic job-free, deficit-hiking “Special Interest Session.”

One Wisconsin Now

The Republican plan to give a tax break to high deductible private health savings accounts would increase the deficit $48 million in the next two years, create no jobs and would not increase access to health care. The plan is to be debated today at a joint legislative health committee.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau

Walker signed into law a 10% across the board cut to base funding for non-staff costs in most of the Department of Health’s programs. Some of those programs are named below. The full list can be found at the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s 2011-13 Comparative Budget Summary, Department of Health Services, page 411.

PolitiFact
Walker promised to veto all tax increases. And he promised a lower tax burden for “all” individuals and job creators. That included a list of specific tax cuts that the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now says adds up to $5 billion in revenue.

One Wisconsin Now

Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. House delegation has given fellow Republican and Gov.-elect Scott Walker a new option in his effort to kill the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development high speed rail would bring to Wisconsin: Pay for one thousandth of one percent of the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest top two percent of income earners.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) to completely end the state’s corporate income tax - a massive new $1.5 billion tax break which would require even more drastic cuts to education, health care, police and fire protection. Walker answered he would “repeal the corporate income tax” on the just-released MMAC gubernatorial candidate questionnaire.

One Wisconsin Now

Ron Johnson's PACUR LLC made a $5,000 contribution August 18, 2010 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) political organization, despite the fact PACUR LLC has paid no state income taxes from 1997 to 2008, according to records from the Department of Revenue obtained by One Wisconsin Now and the RGA's most-recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Rebecca Kleefisch and Scott Walker’s unseemly television ad criticizing access to affordable health care. In the ad railing against health care reform, Kleefisch talks about her successful cancer treatment, which was diagnosed, treated and financed through the access she has to health care as the spouse of an state elected official. Walker and Kleefisch are supporting a plan that would cut 400,000 working families off the state’s successful BadgerCare plan, which provides affordable health care to working adults and children whose employers don’t offer health care benefits and who can’t afford for-profit health care plans. [WISC-TV, 9/22/10; Wisconsin Department of Health Services]

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, as part of his three-page agenda, has called for making “Wisconsin a highly attractive place to start a business by eliminating corporate taxes for the first two years of operation.” Analysis by One Wisconsin Now shows the plan would either be a budget-busting corporate loophole or would apply to few, if any businesses.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has claimed repeatedly for the past year that he has reduced Milwaukee County’s debt by between 10 and 30 percent, but one of his own top administration officials admitted Sunday the “county debt has risen 85 percent under Walker.”

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised an impossible $3.8 billion in tax breaks, loopholes and shifts he has no way to pay for, a new analysis by One Wisconsin Now shows. Coupled with the state’s conservative predictions of a $2.7 billion projected deficit, Walker would need to slash almost $6.5 billion from education, health care, police and fire protection to give tax breaks and loopholes to the wealthy and big business.

One Wisconsin Now

In advance of tonight’s first debate between Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, One Wisconsin Now offered the following questions for County Executive Walker to answer about his tax cut plan for the rich and big business, his support for cutting children and working families from BadgerCare health coverage and his failed management of Milwaukee County.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker remains unwilling to identify the cuts to education, health care, police and fire protection he would make to pay for nearly $3 billion in tax cuts, loopholes and shifts he has proposed, which overwhelmingly benefit the rich and big business. The $3 billion tab is in addition to the $2.7 billion projected state budget deficit.

One Wisconsin Now

For a year, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has repeatedly and specifically called for time limits for the state’s BadgerCare health care program to provide coverage to working families. But after repeating the call for time limits during Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate, Walker is attempting to claim he doesn’t support time limits.

One Wisconsin Now

In advance of tonight’s statewide television debate, One Wisconsin Now offered the following questions for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to answer about his tax cuts plan for the rich and big business and his failed management of Milwaukee County.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, under fire for hypocritically opposing the high speed rail line after voting in the state legislature for tens of millions of dollars in rail bonding and a no-bid process for rail, claimed in a news story published today his budget votes “controlled spending.” Walker voted for all five state budgets before him as a state legislator - which increased state budget spending from $26.6 billion to nearly $49 billion, an increase of $22 billion - or 84 percent.

One Wisconsin Now

A public interest advocacy group is calling on Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker Monday to take responsibility for his “tragic mismanagement of the county’s Mental Health Complex,” saying Walker has chosen to defend himself by hiring an outside law firm and a public relations specialist, both at taxpayer expense, instead of fixing the problem.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is calling for a commission to study state overtime spending, citing the overtime costs for the state of Wisconsin in 2008. Records show Walker spent a substantially higher percentage of Milwaukee County tax dollars on overtime than did the state of Wisconsin in the year he cited, 1.4 percent, compared to the 0.2 percent spent by the state.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, as part of his 2008 budget, vetoed an engineering position for the Milwaukee County Department of Public Works to handle county building oversight and inventory, claiming the move would result in a “tax levy savings of $150,000.” In light of the tragedy at the county’s O’Donnell Park garage, which took the life of a teenager and badly injured two others, Walker is now hastily pledging ten times that amount “¢ $1.5 million in 2011 - to do work which could have been done at fraction of that cost.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker still refuses to say how he will finance a budget-busting $3-billion tax cut and shift scheme that would slash funds from education, health care, and police and fire protection “¢ even after the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the state deficit is an even-larger $2.5 billion for the next biennium.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive County Scott Walker has added more than $1 billion to the price tag of his tax cuts, tax loopholes and tax shifts, which combined with the state’s $2-billion-plus deficit, would require more than $5 billion in drastic cuts to education, health care and police and fire protection - threatening the quality of life for communities in every corner of Wisconsin.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s self-appointed tax and spend team in the state legislature, Republicans Robin Vos and Alberta Darling, both called for more General Purpose Revenue funding than requested by Gov. Jim Doyle in state budgets in the past several years.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker refuses to detail how he will pay for his nearly $2 billion in tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and big business. But he said late last week that wage and benefit cuts for state workers are one way to close the state’s $2 billion-plus projected state deficit. In order to finance both the tax cuts and close the deficit, Walker would need to cut state worker pay and benefits by 42 percent, or slash 29,000 state jobs.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann have refused to detail how they will pay for three tax cuts for the rich and big business, which would cost the middle class $1 billion over the first two years. One Wisconsin Now has released a new video, available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9q8CyhS-Pw designed to get Walker and Neumann to “Break the Silence” and show how they will pay for these tax cut schemes.

One Wisconsin Now

The first television advertisement for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s campaign for governor paid for by the Republican Party of Wisconsin not only is full of distortions and exaggerations, but also ignores the impact of his policies which have been disastrous for Milwaukee, a fact-check conducted by One Wisconsin Now concludes.

One Wisconsin Now

The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s formal endorsement of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has come almost to the day of the anniversary of the passage of the second Bush tax cuts that helped hand over nearly $1 trillion of federal money to the top one percent of income earners. Walker’s central campaign scheme is a $2-billion Bush-style tax cut plan for the rich and big business that he refuses to say how he will pay to finance.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s latest campaign ad is riddled with falsehoods, distortions and half-truths about his disastrous record for Milwaukee County, according to a fact check of the ad conducted by One Wisconsin Now.

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's pandering flip flop on the racist Arizona immigration law has One Wisconsin Now asking whether a similar strategy could get him to answer the question he has refused to answer: How will Scott Walker pay for his $2 billion tax giveaway to benefit the rich and big business? Walker flipped his position from a weekend Associated Press story after his Facebook page was riddled with criticisms by tea party types.

One Wisconsin Now

A special interest group that calls itself a partner of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) will begin spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television starting Friday to promote Scott Walker in the Republican primary for governor.

One Wisconsin Now

“In response to Harley’s news, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican candidate for governor, claimed that the state’s move to combined reporting for corporate taxation had hurt the company. But Harley officials have said in the past that combined reporting…had nothing to do with its cutbacks. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/3/10]

One Wisconsin Now

Contrary to calls for fiscal restraint in his latest television advertisement, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker voted to increase state spending 84 percent as a member of the state Assembly and has proposed 35 percent in increases to county spending since 2002. Walker voted for $200 billion in total state budget spending, which led to a then-record $3 billion state budget deficit.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker has signed a pledge to veto any tax increase. Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, signed the pledge by Americans for Tax Reform to ‘oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.’ That pledge created headaches in 2007 for Republicans when they controlled the state Assembly and ultimately agreed to a budget that raised cigarette taxes.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Irate supervisors said Wednesday that Walker overstepped his authority by laying off 76 workers, including the security personnel, and some vowed to try to stop him from privatizing courthouse security. Walker's unilateral actions created an emergency that didn't exist, said Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr. He said the legal argument justifying Walker's actions under emergency statutory authority was ‘poppycock.’ Walker has said he relied on legal advice from the county corporation counsel as well as an outside law firm before issuing layoff notices. Acting County Corporation Counsel Timothy Schoewe said Walker was justified in hiring a security firm on an emergency basis. Schoewe also said Walker was on solid legal ground with the layoffs to help fill a budget shortfall. Dimitrijevic said she planned to introduce legislation aimed at undoing Walker's plan to award a $1.1 million annual contract to Wackenhut to take over the security checkpoints. The County Board in November rejected Walker's plan to privatize security as part of the 2010 budget and that policy should prevail, Dimitrijevic said. Last Friday, Walker fired all 27 security guards and also issued layoff notices to 49 other county workers.”

One Wisconsin Now

At Tuesday’s Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbying luncheon Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will likely find support from the corporate lobby for his $2-billion, budget-busting, deficit-doubling plan for tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Wisconsinites. What is less likely, is that Walker will explain which drastic cuts he would make to pay for this failed fiscal strategy, according to One Wisconsin Now.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now released the following statements from Executive Director Scot Ross on the one-year anniversary of the successful America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA has provided $2.76 billion to Wisconsin for job creation, schools, transportation, health care, energy and public safety among other critical needs. Over 44,000 Wisconsin jobs have been created, retained and funded through the Recovery Act funds, which some elected officials, most prominently Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, called for Wisconsin to reject.

One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now’s WISTAX Watch is asking the conservative Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance to explain why its latest report focusing on fee increases in cities and villages ignores county governments. The state is in the midst of a gubernatorial campaign between Milwaukee’s conservative county executive, Scott Walker and Milwaukee’s mayor, Tom Barrett.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“...Walker said privatizing airport operations could enable the county to "actually turn a profit and use the revenue to pay down debt." He also said the money from an airport privatization could be used to help pay for the county's bus system without increasing the property tax. ...He sought but failed to win County Board support for a study on airport privatization for 2009, and he didn't address the issue in his 2010 budget. ...Three county supervisors attending Walker's speech said they remained opposed. Supervisors Johnny Thomas, Christopher Larson and Theo Lipscomb said it would be unwise for the county to entrust one of its prime assets to private firms. They warned that fees for a variety of services at the airport would likely be increased.”

One Wisconsin Now

As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker proposed budgets to increase spending 35 percent, far ahead of the more modest spending plans of Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, according to an analysis by One Wisconsin Now.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Richard Abelson, head of the county's largest union, wasn't buying ‘this new soft, gentle and fluffy Scott Walker.’ Walker's layoff remarks mean little and are likely aimed at voters in next year's governor's race, said Abelson, executive director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Walker is the leading Republican candidate for governor. Walker's latest comments don't square with his actions, Abelson said. ‘He was the one who cried wolf with the layoffs in November and the furloughs and reduced hours in July. He's the one who has been trying to scapegoat county employees for years,’ Abelson said. Walker repeatedly threatened layoffs this year, starting in March; unsuccessfully attempted to impose shortened workweeks; and ordered four furlough days for 2009, then rescinded half of them.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Nonunion Milwaukee County workers will get reduced pensions, higher health insurance costs and no seniority raises in 2010, under action approved Thursday by the County Board. ...County Executive Scott Walker favors the measure. Supervisors, Walker and other elected officials were excluded from the pension trims...The employee benefits concessions apply to just 717 unrepresented employees, but also are aimed at leveraging similar concessions from the roughly 4,700 county employees who are union members. The combined savings, if applied to all county employees, was estimated at $7.5 million.”

Milwaukee Business News
“Holloway said the veto cutting funding for the youth sports authority is a mistake. ‘This will affect the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids in our community,’ he said. ‘This program keeps our children out of trouble for just $200,000 a year. This program pays for itself because it costs the county nearly $100,000 to send just two juveniles to state correctional facilities. The county will end up paying more in the long run because fewer of our youth will be involved in enriching competitive sports.’”

Isthmus
“Milwaukee Supervisor John Weishan also charges that Walker has drained funds that should have gone to maintaining the county's infrastructure to instead maintain his pledge never to raise property taxes. ‘He's looted our capital account,’ says Weishan. ‘There's no money for roads or sewers.’ The lack of infrastructure investment is a consistent complaint against Walker, especially his perceived failure to maintain Milwaukee's famed park system. ...Today, Milwaukee County residents commonly complain about overgrown grass and weeds, locked or unusable bathrooms, shoddily maintained softball fields, the elimination of water fountains, and a shortage of staff to deter gang activity and keep the parks safe and family-friendly.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“After nearly 15 years helping patients discharged from Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex cope with life in the community, occupational therapist Kari Held faces an uncertain future and coping issues of her own. Like hundreds of other county employees, Held has a job that has been targeted for elimination next year by County Executive Scott Walker. Her $53,000-a-year pay is one small part of Walker's overall plan to trim $80 million in costs to avoid a deficit next year without raising taxes. Held also is blind. She has found ways to thrive in her chosen field, but her disability could make it harder to deal with a pink slip or transfer to a different county job. ...Patient advocates say that curtailing the day treatment for patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder when they are discharged worsens their recovery chances and likely will lead to relapses and more hospitalizations. ‘This is leaving a gap in the continuum of care,’ said Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee director of Disability Rights Wisconsin. ‘It doesn't make sense from a fiscal point of view or from a perspective of human suffering.’”

One Wisconsin Now

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s recent call for limits on critical BadgerCare health benefits for low-income or displaced workers and repeated criticism of state spending raises concerns he may favor cuts to BadgerCare programs that cover children and expectant mothers.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Memo to Milwaukee County employees: Never mind. That was the upshot of a Friday session that ended with a new deal to avert the Thanksgiving layoffs of 180 county workers intended to avoid a 2009 budget shortfall. Notices had already been sent to those targeted for layoffs by County Executive Scott Walker. But Walker told county supervisors if they could scrape up $600,000 to $1 million in savings from a budget already purportedly scraped clean, some or all of the layoffs would be rescinded. After a lunch-hour meeting between Walker's top aides, County Board Chairman Lee Holloway and Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs, the layoff suspension was announced...Walker had announced the layoffs Wednesday, saying new figures still showed a $3 million year-end deficit looming. With so little time left before the end of the year, the only option was layoffs, Walker said. Walker backed off the layoffs after supervisors obtained promises of some $523,000 in budget savings from department heads, including a surprising offer of $1 million from Parks Director Sue Black.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s plan to temporarily lay off up to 180 employees as a last-ditch move to balance this year's budget prompted finger-pointing and shouting Thursday from county supervisors. ...Supervisors accused Walker of mismanagement and his department heads of hiding what appears to be one of the major causes of the county's 2009 deficit -- a change in the formula used by the state to reimburse the county for low-income patients' care. A shortfall in anticipated sales tax revenue also was blamed. ‘The administration failed, and the county executive failed,’ said Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr. ‘We're supposed to be in this together,’ said Supervisor Elizabeth M. Coggs, who complained that supervisors routinely have been shut out of critical information by Walker's department heads. ‘The only time we are in this together is when the crap hits the fan.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County employees would bear a heavy burden of budget-balancing pain in County Executive Scott Walker's proposed 2010 budget, with nearly $41 million in pay and benefits cuts and the elimination of nearly 400 jobs. The proposal includes a 3% across-the-board wage cut for all county workers, a new employee pension contribution of 5% of a worker's salary, a boost in health care contributions and more furloughs...Walker was immediately criticized by supervisors and unions for unrealistic budgeting and the potential for plunging the county into a costly labor dispute. The County Board has a tentative contract with the county's largest union that calls for a two-year pay freeze in exchange for no layoffs and no privatized jobs - a deal that would go out the window under Walker's proposed budget. That raises the likelihood the county could be accused of bad-faith bargaining, warned Supervisor Lynne De Bruin. "We are creating a war with our largest union," she said. Walker has threatened to veto the tentative contract, and on Thursday the board delayed action on it.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Operation of the Milwaukee County Zoo, one of the area's most popular attractions, would be spun off to a nonprofit company under a plan by County Executive Scott Walker. A proposal he'll include in his 2010 budget will call for creation of a steering committee to work out details of how the privatization would work, including whether the Milwaukee County Zoological Society or some newly created entity would take on zoo operations. Walker is eyeing a late 2011 date for the shift.”

Milwaukee County Executive

“County Executive Scott Walker is pleased to announce that the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division-Wraparound Milwaukee program, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, was notified that it is one of only seven communities in the U.S. to be a recipient of a $2.4 million, 5-year Healthy Transitions grant -$480,000 per year- from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. ‘Earlier, we announced $3.85 million in grants for three other programs,’ said Walker. ‘This is additional good news and congratulations to the staff for the work done at BHD-Wraparound to get this grant.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Friday added an employee wage freeze to his growing arsenal of tools aimed at avoiding large budget shortfalls. But as with other ideas he's broached -- most notably a 35-hour work week and accompanying pay cuts -- the county executive ran into immediate resistance and accusations he's playing politics with people's lives. Walker said he's not bluffing about the need for the cutbacks or the likely alternative -- layoffs. All county department heads have been asked to draft layoff plans in case the freeze and his other efforts are rebuffed, Walker said...The county is projected to face shortfalls of nearly $15 million this year and $90 million next year. Walker had no estimate of savings linked to a wage freeze.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker acknowledged Friday it was too late to apply for 350 county summer jobs he highlighted in an outdoor ceremony at Washington Park on the city's west side. ...Walker vetoed $100,000 of the funding for the program in the 2009 budget, but the County Board overrode the veto on a 15-4 vote. County Board Chairman Lee Holloway criticized Walker for publicizing a program he tried to kill.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Doyle said Friday he is working with Democratic legislative leaders on the next round of cuts for all state programs but was not ready to announce what he will recommend. A 5% cut in state aid to local governments would give them about $48 million less for their 2010 budgets. In February, before the latest drop in tax collections, Doyle had proposed a 1% cut in state aid. Doyle's comments were met with apprehension from the leaders of Wisconsin's two largest local governments. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker were already in the process of chopping spending this year and preparing drastically scaled-back budgets for next year. They said further cuts to shared revenue would only make that job harder.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Thursday ordered five-hour weekly unpaid furloughs for most county employees through the rest of 2009 as a way of offsetting a projected $15 million deficit this year…Walker's shorter workweek order affects at least half the county workforce, including managers. The cut also could be extended to 60% or more of the nearly 5,000 county employees. …For affected county workers, losing five hours of reduced pay a week would amount to about a 12.5% cut.”

Daily Reporter

“While the board's override of the veto establishes the county is in favor of using stimulus money, County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said she is concerned Walker will delay efforts to research and apply for the money. County Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb, chairman of a committee created to research stimulus opportunities for the county, said that is happening already.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Meanwhile, the board delivered a second snub to Walker on Thursday on his plan to outsource operation of the public assistance call center, voting 12-6 to reject his plan. The board also voted against the idea last year. Walker favored hiring Impact, a private agency, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to operate the call center for $2 million a year. ...The board approved a resolution calling on Walker to increase the call center staff to 30 using county employees, which would cost slightly less than Walker's outsourcing, according to board figures.”

One Wisconsin Now

 Wisconsin Republican officials are responding to bipartisan overtures at the state and federal level by Democratic leaders by summarily rejecting efforts to create jobs, invest in infrastructure, reform health insurance and tackle the $5.4 billion deficit.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County's 2008 overtime spending is on pace to match or beat last year's record $15.8 million tab, despite extra recruitment and hiring of mental health and corrections workers, an analysis of county spending records shows. The overtime bill for the first 10 months of this year was $14.4 million. Overtime costs for November and December are expected to drive the bill to more than $16 million. ...Amid the economic downturn, Walker imposed a partial hiring and travel freeze in September to help ward off a year-end deficit. He credited such moves with keeping the county in the black. But critics on the County Board say Walker has courted overtime growth by too thinly staffing county departments.”

Wisconsin Law Journal
“The Milwaukee County Court System once again survived the veto pen of County Executive Scott Walker this budget season, holding onto more than two dozen court staff members. On Nov. 19 the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted 16-3 to override a partial veto by Walker, which would have slashed more than $1.3 million in 2009 funding for combined court-related operations... The board restored all 27 court staff positions, which county executive Scott Walker sought to either eliminate or replace with more cost efficient personnel. Nine clerical assistants -$499,826- and eight deputy court clerk judicial assistants -$592,448- were slated for elimination by Walker, who also planned to substitute nine administrative interns in place of nine legal research interns at an estimated savings of $220,000.”

Daily Reporter

“A Milwaukee County Board veto override Wednesday means contractors will miss out on $600,000 worth of contracts, and 30 tradespeople on the county payroll will keep their jobs. ‘We are not a source to go to the private sector to make them richer off of taxpayer dollars,’ said County Supervisor Michael Mayo, who voted against County Executive Scott Walker's outsourcing plan.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Walker struck out with the board on every major privatization move, with one exception. The board sustained a Walker veto that keeps alive - though barely - his plan to outsource operation of the troubled public assistance call center. Under Walker's plan, the county would pay the private social agency IMPACT and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education $2 million a year to run the center. Because of the complex partial veto that Walker used to resurrect the call center, the matter must come before the board again for approval of an outsourcing contract on the call center, county Corporation Counsel William Domina said. That means the board could still kill the plan. Walker got only eight votes Wednesday, enough to sustain the call center veto but not enough to get the call center contract approved...Other Walker outsourcing ideas defeated included privatizing scores of workers who fix county vehicles, maintain county buildings, work as housekeepers or admissions staff at the Mental Health Complex, or work as mental health caseworkers. The board also used an override to defeat Walker's plan to substitute seasonal help for 48 parks maintenance workers, which added $1.8 million.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Walker stitched together random letters and even spaces from paragraphs of 2009 budget text, as amended by the County Board, to create new meaning ...‘Vanna White’ vetoes -grabbing letters like the game show hostess from a piece of text to form new words- are still fair game for Walker. He limited his creative veto impulses in the 2009 budget to the Vanna veto, which he views as the more legitimate… For example, his veto restoring privatization of 30 skilled worker jobs pruned two full pages of text to extract letters and spaces that created this phrase: ‘restore contract funds.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The board did not disrupt Walker's plan to place oversight of the House of Correction under Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and merge it with Clarke's operation of the county jail. Under the change, Walker would give up his management responsibility over the House of Correction and county work-release center. The center came under fire in a federal audit early this year. Holloway said he wasn't enthusiastic about that change, but noted supervisors had little choice because of some $3 million in savings linked to the merger. Supervisors ordered a specific merger plan by July 1 and use of the National Institute of Corrections audit as the blueprint for changes at the House of Correction.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“A referendum on raising Milwaukee County's sales tax by one percentage point to beef up funding for parks, transit and paramedics and to reduce property taxes appeared headed for approval in Tuesday's voting. The advisory referendum ballot measure was leading late Tuesday by 53% to 47%, with 81% of the vote counted. The apparent win came over the objections of County Executive Scott Walker, but the sales tax increase needs additional approvals to take effect. The question was put to voters as a first step toward finding a different and bigger funding source for the county's expansive park system, which has a nearly $300 million maintenance backlog. It also was aimed at filling growing shortfalls in transit funding and stabilizing county support for local emergency medical services. The $130 million in extra revenue from a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase would nearly double current spending for those services and also free up $67 million for property tax relief, backers said. Opponents doubted whether the relief would ever materialize.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The referendum also faced organized opposition from a local conservative political action group, Wisconsin Club for Growth, which ran radio ads critical of the sales tax increase over the past week. Walker recorded the ads for the group. In them, he raised the still-potent specter of the controversial 2001 county pension deal by saying, ‘The same County Board that voted to increase their own pensions now want your permission to raise taxes by $130 million.’ That line drew protests from supervisors, who said only seven of the 19 current board members were on the board in 2001 and only five voted for the pension deal.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker came under fire Tuesday for delays in hiring the county’s first engineer to oversee the county’s ‘green’ building projects. Although the position was created in July 2007 and money was set aside for it in this year's budget, the job remains vacant.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker came under fire Tuesday for delays in hiring the county's first engineer to oversee the county's "green" building projects. Although the position was created in July 2007 and money was set aside for it in this year's budget, the job remains vacant. The idea was to have a sort of environmental quarterback to spearhead the county's efforts at energy efficiency.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said Wednesday that he would drop his request for a 26% pay increase for his chief of staff, Tom Nardelli, at least until after work on the 2009 county budget is finished. Walker said he didn't want the unilateral authority to raise Nardelli’s pay by $20,000 a year to $95,000, something a County Board committee recommended Wednesday. At County Board Chairman Lee Holloway's request, the board's finance committee voted 7-0 to give Walker sole authority for the Nardelli raise. ...Walker decided to drop the matter because of public concern it was ill-timed, given the bad economy.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Some fees would rise under Walker's budget. For example, playing golf at county courses would increase by $3 per nine holes, according to the board staff review. Current fees range from $6.50 to $49 for nine holes, depending on the course. The county executive's budget also would increase marina slip and boat launch fees by 16%. Walker also is calling for higher pool admission fees. Zoo admission would rise $1, to $9.25 for children through age 12 and to $12.25 for those 13 and over, during the peak season of April 1 to Oct. 31. Walker's plan to install parking meters along Lincoln Memorial Drive on the lakefront would bring in an estimated $405,000 a year. Bus fares would rise 25 cents a ride to $2.25, under Walker's budget, but no routes would be cut.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s 2009 budget would potentially lay off 339 employees, mostly through privatizing food service, housekeeping, skilled trade and vehicle maintenance workers, supervisors were told Monday. ...County Board Chairman Lee Holloway called Walker's budget ‘the worst budget that I've experienced in 16 years on the board in terms of the cuts and the complications.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Milwaukee County's economic development efforts would get a lower profile under County Executive Scott Walker's 2009 budget. The Economic and Community Development Division would disappear, its duties parceled out to other departments. The county would no longer have an economic development director, but a lower-paid associate director of real estate, one rung lower, in a revised county bureaucracy. … County Supervisor Toni Clark said she would oppose Walker's move, calling economic development ‘probably the most important division of county government.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“His message to his staff members as they gear up for the annual budget pageant: economize and privatize. ‘Anywhere and everywhere, they should be considering contracting out’ so services can be provided at less cost, Walker said in an interview. That's been his mantra since he took office, one that he re-emphasized during his successful re-election campaign this year.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“But Walker exacerbates the county's woes by sticking to his pledge to freeze the county property tax. The sentiment is commendable, but his intransigence is anything but. ...Walker's pledge fits his belief in small government. But it also conveniently provides Walker, who ran for governor in 2006 and clearly has his sights on higher office, with an immensely popular platform plank.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“In recent budgets, Walker has been playing a political shell game. He makes taxpayers think the county can get by with what it spent the previous year when it can't. To prevent more cuts in needed services, supervisors then are forced to raise the levy, last year by 3.6%. So Walker takes bows as a budget hawk and supervisors take unfair grief for raising taxes, much of the flak coming from Walker's cheerleading section in talk radio.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said Tuesday he'll scale back the amount of his paycheck he returns to the county, if he's re-elected to another term April 1. Walker will cut the sum he gives back from $60,000 annually to $10,000. ...He joked today that his decision to continue giving back nearly 47% of his salary every year has been unpopular with his wife. He said he felt it was important to still return a portion annually and that he had settled on the $10,000 figure.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Walker announced the unusual midyear layoffs and workweek changes in a ‘Dear County Employee’ e-mail message after what he described as several rushed meetings with stunned department heads scrambling to patch a $7.8 million deficit in the county’s 2003 budget...Walker’s email to employees blamed the current-year deficit on ‘a number of unanticipated occurrences including significant revenue shortfalls in a number of departments, loss of state revenue and loss of investment earnings.’”

Associated Press
Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday he will veto a Republican plan for distributing the state aid local governments use to pay for services such as police and fire protection, saying it unfairly penalizes poorer cities such as Milwaukee. The Democratic governor said he also will use his veto authority to cap cuts in shared revenue to no more than 15 percent for each municipality, to make sure local governments share equally in the burden of fixing the state's $3.2 billion deficit. "I believe we are all in this together," said Doyle, flanked by local politicians and city workers at a city-run health center, as he unveiled more of his plans for vetoing parts of the state budget passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature....He pointed out the city of Milwaukee would have lost an estimated $24 million under the GOP plan, compared to just less than $10 million under his."They have picked winners and losers," Doyle said, referring to legislators.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Assembly Republicans on Thursday proposed a two-year statewide property tax freeze as a way to shield taxpayers...State aid to cities, counties, villages and towns would be set at $931 million in 2004 -- the level recommended by Doyle, and about a 7 percent cut from state aid in 2003. Doyle, speaking to about 200 municipal leaders Thursday in Madison, slammed the proposal as a way to shift the blame for the state's finances to local officials...Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a former Republican lawmaker, supported the freeze. ‘This plan guarantees that Milwaukee County taxpayers will not see a tax increase in 2004,’ Walker said in a statement. But the Wisconsin Counties Association said the freeze would only compound problems for counties in providing services the state requires.”

2001 AB 605
Walker sponsored 2001 Assembly Bill 605, estimated to reduce state tax collections by up to $120 million per year by eliminating state taxes on the estates of wealthy Wisconsinites.

Associated Press

The lawmakers' proposal would eliminate the $ 819.5 million a year in operating subsidies that state government gives to cities, villages and towns.But it would continue state operating aid of $189 million to counties. The proposal would cut the 5 percent statewide sales tax by an amount equal to $ 819.5 million, which officials said would lower the sales tax to 3.8 percent. City councils and village and town boards would gain authority to create local sales taxes under the proposal. Only counties can currently levy local sales taxes of 0.5 percent, and 51 of the 72 counties collect this surtax.The plan "allows us to cut the state sales tax, avoid property tax increases and give power back to the cities," Walker said. Sen. Brian Burke, D-Milwaukee, denounced the Republicans' plan, saying it would raise the sales tax in Milwaukee County from more than 2 percent. The sales tax rate would have to soar to replace the $340 million the county and all local governments get in state aid, said Burke, co-chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee.Walker conceded that his plan would lead to different sales tax rates among communities. Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist denounced the plan."I think it's a goofy kind of idea," Norquist said.