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.
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.
Today Gov. Scott Walker introduced his 2017-19 budget plan. And despite spending billions of dollars over hundreds of pages of proposals, nearly one million state student loan borrowers with over $19 billion in debt are again left with no help
Scott Walker kicked off his 2018 bid for Governor today with a speech before the state legislature introducing a two-year budget proposal.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements about Gov. Scott Walker signing the biennial state budget during an unexpected day spent in Wisconsin.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Third Time Not a Charm as Nonpartisan Analysis Finds Gov. Walker Breaks Campaign Pledge to Keep Policy Out of State Budget, Again
Cementing his reputation as a career politician willing to do or say anything to get elected, Gov. Scott Walker has produced a third straight state budget larded with policy which has no fiscal impact, despite as a candidate vowing to halt the practice.
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.
“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.
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.
Walker earmarked budget funds for a wind power study that is “literally a gift to the coal industry.”
“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.'"
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.
In Walker’s 2015 budget, he proposed lifting the caps put in place in the 2013 expansion, expanding vouchers across the state without limits
Among the most egregious provisions of the budget plan for the 2015-17 biennium announced by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this evening are record cuts to the University of Wisconsin System coupled with a proposal to allow for unlimited tuition hikes after 2016.
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.
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."
`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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Gov. Walker’s Administration Asks: ‘How Can We Love You More?’ Corporate Special Interest ALEC Provides Answers.
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.
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.
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.”
“Public Input” Walker Style: Administration Shutting Out Media and Public From Invite Only Meetings With Big Business to Talk Tax Policy
While claiming they will seek public input for an unspecified new scheme on state taxes, the administration of Gov. Walker is barring the media and general public from invite only, closed door meetings between top state officials and big business representatives.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Under Walker’s New Tax Giveaway, Families Could Receive Up To $4,000 for Children in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade And $10,000 For Each Student In High School
“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.”
“Democrats have criticized the state budget as anti-middle class because it cuts taxes paid by the wealthy, provides $30 million in tax deductions for private school tuition, and rejects a federal Medicaid expansion that would cover people living on up to 133 percent of the poverty level.”
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.
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”
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.
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.
“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.”
Wisconsin Working Families and Middle Class Lose Big as Top GOP Legislative Leaders Flip-Flop Way to Budget Deal
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 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:
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.”
Scot Ross, who heads the liberal One Wisconsin Now group, says Walker is not doing his job in Wisconsin while the state lags near the bottom in creating new jobs.
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.
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 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.
An analysis of Gov. Walker's 2013-15 budget plan reveals a massive increase in the percentage of state taxpayer dollars going to the unaccountable private school voucher program. Meanwhile, state support for K-12 public schools is essentially held flat, even after record budget cuts in the last budget.
Gov. Walker’s Nearly $68 Billion Budget Allocates $0.0 For Direct Relief From Trillion Dollar Student Loan Debt Crisis
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.
The Billion Dollar Question: How Big is Budget Windfall for Gov. Walker’s Biggest Campaign Contributor?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance Blames Gov. Walker’s Epic Jobs Failure on Wisconsin Citizens’ Age and Demeanor
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 Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on Gov. Walker’s State of the State address:
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.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on the release of U.S. Census data showing Wisconsin under Gov. Walker ranks 42nd of the 50 states for job creation between June 2011 and June 2012:
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on the two-year anniversary of Scott Walker as Governor:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
“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.”
- 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
- 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.
- 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
Proposed and ultimately signed the 2013-15 budget which included expansion of the private school voucher program statewide. As approved, the program was expanded for 500 students in its first year and 1,000 students in the next school year.
Walker Budget Provisions Weakened Wisconsin’s Stewardship Program and Land Conservation and Force Sale of Public Lands
Walker’s 2013 budget included a measure cutting bonding authority for the state Stewardship Program, which buys land for public recreation and a measure forcing the state to sell public lands without a guarantee of a fair return to taxpayers.
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.
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.
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 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.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding President Obama’s call for Congress to extend tax breaks for the middle class while allowing those for the wealthiest Americans to expire.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Big Spending, Corporate Funded Republican Governors Association Returns to Try to Bail Out Gov. Walker
The Virginia based, corporate-funded Republican Governors Association (RGA) announced in a press release today that it has returned to Wisconsin with negative television commercials attacking possible opponents of Gov. Walker in a recall election.
One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne made the following statement regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s latest special interest funded campaign ad:
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.
Wisconsin Outrage: Are Koch Brothers Getting a Tax Break for TV Ad Touting Gov. Walker’s Failed Policies?
A recently launched statewide television ad campaign, touting the failed policies of Republican Gov. Scott Walker that have resulted in six straight months of job losses, could be providing Kansas billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and others with a tax break.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walker Allowed University of Wisconsin to raise tuition by 5.5% annually; Cut $250 million from System
In first year as governor, Walker admin proposed sharply raising premiums for state health programs & force others to lower cost or private plans
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.
Gov. Scott Walker, who gutted funds for public education, the University of Wisconsin and the technical college system by nearly $2 billion, will be greeted by a plane with a special message from One Wisconsin Now as he attends Saturday’s Badgers vs. Nebraska football game. The message: “RecallScottWalker.org _ One WI Now.”
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.”
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?
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 broke campaign pledge and raised state fees to fill budget hole, including $107 million in tuition hikes on UW students
- 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)
- 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.
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.”
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.
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…”
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.
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.
State Capitol ‘Run Against Walker’ to Focus on Walker, GOP Attacks on Health Care, Middle Class to Pay for $600 Million Corporate Tax Cuts
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.
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
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.
On May 11, 2011, Walker signed into law reckless health care cutbacks that would allow the state to cut up to 70,000 from Wisconsin health care programs, and could result in deep reductions in benefits for children and seniors. (January 2011 Special Session Assembly Bill 11; Assembly Roll Call; Senate Roll Call)
One Wisconsin Institute Report: ‘We’re Not Broke: The Truth About The Wisconsin Budget, Taxes and Governor Walker’s Phony Fiscal Crisis’
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.
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)
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.
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.
“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.
“There will need to be electoral changes in order to get the rights back that Republicans took from working people,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive advocacy group.
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.
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.
“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.”
In an attempt to push through his unpopular Budget Repair Bill, Gov. Scott Walker has tried to set a Friday deadline for passage by falsely claiming that lack of action will cost taxpayers money:
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.
Walker proposed taking away most legislative oversight of BadgerCare; turning decision-making over to DHS Secretary
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Walker Concocts ‘Scoop and Toss’ Borrowing Scheme to Pay for $140 Million in Special Interest Spending
Madison— Republican Gov. Scott Walker plans to pay for $140 million in new special interest spending signed into law in January by extending the state’s long term debt in a “scoop and toss” refinancing scheme that will cost untold tens of millions of dollars in additional debt for Wisconsin.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
GOP Save-Face Plan for Walker: ‘Kill Rail to Pay 0.001 Percent for Extending Bush Tax Cuts for Millionaires’
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.
GOPromiseBreakers: Will Walker, Kleefisch, RoJo, Duffy, Ribble Take Government-Subsidized Health Care?
Wisconsin’s leading anti-healthcare reform advocates, including Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch and Ron Johnson all have the opportunity to refuse government-subsidized health care, and One Wisconsin Now is calling for them to publicly announce whether or not they will be taking advantage of government-subsidized health care in their newly-elected positions.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s frivolous complaint to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) regarding its legislative candidates’ support for the Social Security privatization scheme concocted by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), belies the RPW’s own state platform, which offers incontrovertible support for the so-called “Ryan Roadmap.”
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.
Ron Johnson’s PACUR LLC Pays Zero State Income Taxes, But Makes $5,000 Contribution to Republican Governors Association
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.
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, has yet to state publicly what cuts he would make, though his campaign says he will in the coming weeks.” [Appleton Post-Crescent, 6/13/10]
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]
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Will Walker Finally Say How He Will Pay for $3 Billion in Tax Cuts, Loopholes, Shift for Rich, Big Business?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s long record of failed leadership, mismanagement and skewed priorities are featured on a new interactive and multi-media website www.ScottWalkerFailureFiles.com, researched and produced by 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.
“As governor, I’ll find ways to do more with less …and sign an amendment that will protect funds like these from future raids.” “¢ Walker Statement, 7/20/10
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.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised to reveal his plans in the coming days to reduce the state government payroll, but if his Milwaukee County record is any indication of his plans, taxpayers will be socked with higher costs and compromised safety.
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.
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.
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.
Video Urges Walker, Neumann to ‘Break the Silence’ on How They Will Pay for Billion Dollar Tax Cut for Rich, Big Business
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.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s failed leadership and the disastrous outcome is the subject of an online video produced by One Wisconsin Now as part of its “Scott Walker Failure Files” timeline and information warehouse.
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.
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.
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.
Scott Walker Flip Flops on Immigration; Remains Firm in Refusal to Explain How to Pay for $2 Billion Tax Giveaway to Rich, Big Business
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.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s eight years of failed leadership are highlighted in an interactive timeline documenting his misdeeds, mismanagement and incompetence created by One Wisconsin Now and available at www.ScottWalkerFailureFiles.com.
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.
“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]
Walker to Pay for Part of $2 Billion Tax Cut Plan for Rich, Big Business By Cutting Seniors, Family from Health Care Coverage
[Walker] said he was studying whether the state should change eligibility standards for the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor, elderly and disabled. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/13/10]
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 County Executive Scott Walker’s criticism related to the Talgo company comes just two weeks after the company owned by a top Walker campaign donor and finance co-chair of his failed 2006 gubernatorial campaign did not receive a contract from the Spanish train maker.
“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.”
County Board Supervisors Accused Walker of Overstepping His Authority in Laying Off 76 Workers, Privatizing Their Jobs
“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.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is claiming he will create “250,000 jobs” in Wisconsin, which if done would essentially reduce the unemployment rate to zero. The lowest recorded unemployment rate in recent Wisconsin history is 2.4 percent in 1999.
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 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’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 County Executive Scott Walker has strongly opposed measures to provide more Wisconsin children, pregnant mothers and uninsured adults have affordable health care, at the same time taking more than $120,000 in campaign contributions from the health care industry in just the last six months alone.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants to double Wisconsin’s projected $2-billion state budget deficit with a series of tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and high-income people.
“...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.”
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.
“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.”
Walker Enacted Wage Freezes, Pay Cuts, Furloughs, Pension & Health Benefit Cutbacks for County Employees
“Over the last eight years, we’ve worked together to maintain funding for essential government programs without increasing the property tax levy from the previous year, cut debt by over 10%, and cut the county work force by over 20%.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker voted for five straight state budgets, which increased state budget spending from $26.6 billion to nearly $49 billion, an increase of $22 billion - or 84 percent, according to an analysis by One Wisconsin Now.
Advocates Warn Walker County Plan Ending Mental Health Day Treatment Likely Leads to Relapses and Greater Hospitalizations
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 County under spent its budget for running the Wisconsin Shares child-care program by more than $4.3 million since 2004 -- money that could have gone toward greater fraud prevention, state officials said. The county was authorized to spend $8 million or more annually to run the program, under contracts with the state that included oversight of participants and child-care providers. The county, however, passed up the chance to use $1.4 million in 2004 and high six-figure sums nearly every year since then. In 2006, the county didn't use $376,000 of its child-care oversight money -- the smallest sum the county left on the table through 2008, state figures show. The county also is on track to leave unspent another $600,000 of its child-care administration funds this year. Counties are not allowed to roll over the money they don't spend on the program in any given year.”
“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.’”
“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.”
“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.’”
“Cuts proposed for social programs in 2010 stunned and angered Milwaukee County supervisors Wednesday, who said the county's poorest and most vulnerable residents would bear the brunt. The county's Health and Human Services budget request would eliminate $1 million for homeless shelters, $2.4 million for elderly and disabled programs, $721,000 from programs for delinquents and nearly $300,000 from a burial program for low-income families...Such cuts, while Walker insists on a property tax levy freeze, demonstrate the ‘irresponsibility of a no tax-levy increase pledge,’ said Supervisor Theo Lipscomb.”
Walker Intended to Use Wage Freezes & Shortened Work Weeks to Address County’s Shortfall of $15 Million in 2009 and $90 Million in 2010
“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.”
“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 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.”
County Supervisor said Walker has not supported efforts to get federal stimulus funds for green construction projects.
“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.”
“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.”
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 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.’”
“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.”
Walker Opposed Sales Tax Increase to Fund Parks, Transit and Paramedics and Reduce Property Taxes, But Voters Supported Increase
“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.”
“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 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.”
Supervisors criticized Walker for dragging his feet on hiring for County’s “green” building projects.
“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 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.”
“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 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 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.’”
“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.”
Walker’s Pledge to Freeze Property Tax and Refusal to Raise Any Taxes ‘Exacerbates the County’s Woes’
“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.”
“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.”
“Supervisors point out that it now appears their 2007 budget, which Walker vetoed -- claiming it was not balanced - will result in a $7 million surplus.”
After Walker Supported Cutting Shared Revenue, He Blamed Loss of Shared Revenue for Midyear Shortfall
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.’”
“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.”
Walker Proposed Budget Which Cut Needle Exchange Program, Said AIDS Prevention Not a ‘Core Function of the County’
“Plans by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to cut $230,000 for AIDS prevention from the budget next yer were blasted Sunday at the 13th annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin….In Milwaukee County, county money is not directly used to buy needles, but the money does pay for staffing an AIDS prevention program that, in turn, provides the clean needles. The program began in 2000. In announcing the proposed cut last week, Walker said he did not like the idea of using ‘tax dollars to support illegal activity.’ In an interview Sunday, Walker said he did not consider AIDS prevention ‘a core function of the county. It probably would be better addressed by the city or the state health department.’
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.