Walker’s ‘Special Interest Session’ Tab: $140 Million and Counting

Walker, GOP Majority Unwilling to Show Specific Jobs Coming from Deficit-Hiking Payoffs

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.

“Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans have already hiked spending $140 million in their first two weeks,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Not only have Gov. Walker and the Republicans hiked the deficit by $140 million, they have no way to show us the jobs our money is going to create.”

Gov. Walker’s “Special Interest Session” has included three spending bills which top $140 million over the biennium and are primarily geared toward paying back the corporate special interests which backed Walker’s campaign, including:

  • Walker is spending $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation. Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs. If it had created any jobs, they would already have applied for and received the tax credits, because there’s plenty of money already in the program. [Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 1/7/2011]
  • Walker is spending $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants. [Government Accountability Office, 4/1/2008; Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 1/11/2011]
  • Walker is spending $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at-best the benefit provided to job creators would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day. This is hardly an incentive that will lead to new family-supporting jobs being created in Wisconsin. [Associated Press, 1/28/2001]

In addition to these costly bills, Gov. Walker and the Republicans have passed legislation demanded by corporate special interests that will reduce the ability of citizens to hold corporations accountable when they are injured or killed, including those who hurt the most: vulnerable senior citizens in nursing homes.

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