MADISON, Wis. — What does the all but announced campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination of Gov. Scott Walker mean for the upcoming state budget? Based on the comments and actions of the yet-to-be-inaugurated for a new term Wisconsin Governor, the two-year $70 billion plus taxing and spending plan will serve as a glorified 2016 campaign ad.
“That Gov. Walker brazenly misled the people of Wisconsin about his intentions to run for president in the lead up to the November election is not the most disturbing thing,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Instead it’s that he clearly intends to use our tax dollars to create a $70 billion campaign ad for himself instead of a state budget that works for the rest of us in Wisconsin.”
In a preview of his expected run for the nomination as the GOP’s nominee for President in 2016, the national publication Politico reported that Walker, “intends to use the upcoming legislative session to push an ambitious agenda that could … bolster his standing with Republican primary voters.”
This week it was also reported that Gov. Walker’s campaign is paying for a poll to decide what he should put into his 2015 budget plan.
Ross noted that Gov. Walker’s singular focus on his political ambitions has resulted in cronyism and corruption in his first term. Secret investigations have resulted in criminal convictions of close aides and associates and revelations of a system of coordination between outside groups and the Walker campaign was described as a “criminal scheme” by prosecutors. Meanwhile state funds administered by Gov. Walker’s privatized economic development agency overwhelmingly went to businesses whose owners and employees donated heavily to the Walker campaign.
The results are that the state lags the Midwest and much of the nation on job creation. And the most recent report on the state’s fiscal future is equally grim. Gov. Walker’s policies and mismanagement have left the state facing a shortfall of nearly $200 million in the current budget and a $2.2 billion deficit in the next budget.
He concluded, “We don’t yet know if Gov. Walker’s gambit to manipulate state government and the $70 billion plus budget will translate into victory for him in the GOP presidential primary. But it is clear that he has every intention of proposing a budget and policies that make him look good to voters in early GOP primary states instead of serving the people of Wisconsin.”