Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) promised Wisconsinites that he could jump start the economy with tax cuts for big business, even though this Republican economic model was partially responsible for the recession from which the state — and indeed the nation — was suffering.
Just days ago, the Republican Governor trolled President Obama, claiming the country needed Walker’s “pro-growth economic policies”.
Enter crazy Republican math, stage right. Things are not adding up for Walker’s budget.
When the first troubling revenue numbers came out, Walker and Wisconsin Republicans, who make up the legislative majority, said oh, they will be revised. Well, that time has come and guess what, no new revenue is coming from the Reagan trickle down skies to save them.
A new memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) broke down the crazy math and wishful but dashed hopes of Wisconsin Republicans that the revenue to cover their tax cuts for big business would just magically appear (a charge made by Wisconsin Democrats, but with which logic concurs).
Bob Lang, Director of the nonpartisan LFB, revealed in a memo issued May 6th that Wisconsin will see no additional revenue growth in the next two years and indeed, any additional revenue in the current fiscal year will likely be offset by reduced growth in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Any adjustments would be offset by the fact that “recent forecasts of the U.S. economy have been downgraded from the January forecast.”
In other words, the national economy isn’t going to save Walker from his bad math and the fact that within the region (and actually nationally), his state is performing poorly. In fact, the state’s GDP growth and personal income growth have trailed the national rate. Republicans have tried to blame Democrats for the economic failure of their policies by saying they were in charge “for many years”, but PolitiFact threw water on that false notion.
Lang killed the trickle down dream with, “On balance, we believe that the current estimates for the three year period are still reasonable and should not be adjusted.”
This means that Gov. Walker’s budget is officially a real mess.
Jessie Opoien, writing for the Capital Times in an article entitled “Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo: No new revenue growth for Wisconsin,” explained:
That means no adjustments will be made to the agency’s January estimates, and lawmakers will have no additional revenue to work with as they work through revisions to Gov. Scott Walker’s two-year budget.
Republican lawmakers had hoped to use new revenue growth to cover a proposed $127 million cut to K-12 public schools and to lessen a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System.
So logically at this point, sane people who can add would be thinking maybe we won’t roll out our additional tax cuts to manufacturing and farm businesses that started in 2011, especially because it turns out that the tax credits are going to cost “at least $275 million in additional lost tax collections over the next biennium, or more than double what was originally estimated.”
So, let’s see: Less revenue than expected, so Republicans figure why not take away even more revenue with tax credits that are going to cost twice as much as estimated. These tax cuts were sold as being “job-creating.” Reality disagrees.
Job-creating tax cuts. This was the big promise. It is the big promise. Republicans sell this to Americans who believe in hard, honest work and in rewarding success. It appeals to the idea of giving something to get something. But this bad math doesn’t work. Any reasonable person can see that tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs and do create deficits, but there are also studies that prove it. In fact, long term studies show that Republican governors are associated with lower growth rates.
A little recap of Walker’s disastrous experiment in servile compliance to the Koch brothers: “In 2013 he took take Wisconsin to 49th in the nation, leading in economic contraction with negative numbers — Wisconsin was second to last with an index of -.74%. Forbes named Walker’s Wisconsin one of the worst states for business in 2012.”
Walker promised trickle down and common sense and it all sounded so great. Midwesterners understand the value of hard work, so when Walker told them it was their fault, and they must tighten their belts even more, many agreed.
Wisconsin Republicans can’t draft behind the big truck of the U.S. economy. They’re going to have to make Republican math work on their own. No doubt this will mean more cuts to the needy and more sneaky tax increases on the people.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.