Friday afternoon featured the release of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's semi-annual state Economic Outlook. And as you may have heard, it featured awful news for the Walker boys, as the report indicate that as things stand after 9 months of the Fitzwalkerstan era, Wisconsin will add barely over half of Walker's vaunted 250,000 jobs in 4 years. But even those dismal projections are worth a second look, both to see how much damage has been done by the Walker Administration, and to see if even this Fall's figures are overly optimistic.
Because when you check what the same DOR predicted 5 1/2 months ago, the outlook was a lot rosier. In that report, the DOR expected 183,400 jobs in the next 4 years (check page 8 for the charts) , but in the Fall report, that job growth number dropped by more than 25%. Apparently even the DOR couldn't predict the severe damage that Tea Baggers and Fitzwalkerstanis could inflict on the economy in a matter of months. The Spring 2011 average projection of 2.77 million total jobs and 2.353 million private sector jobs has only been surpassed once, in the fluky big-gain month of June. Since then, the Waller budget has taken effect, and Wisconsin has been 49th for states in job growth in the 3 months since. We won't even be at that 2.77 million level by the end of 2011, let alone an average.
Now, the Fall report tries to account for that, dropping the numbers to 2.765 million total and 2.346 million private. And the 2012 job gains are lowered to 1.0% total and 1.3% private vs. 1.7% total and 2.1% private. In fact, the DOR now says average unemployment will go UP to 7.8% in 2012, which means we won't be any better off than we stand today, which is worse off than the 7.4% we had when Walker took office.
Those brutal figures might be too generous, if anything, given that most of 2011 has been below even those lowered figures, and little growth can be seen coming one. Eespecially as many local governments will institute drastic cuts over the next 4 months to combat the Walker Admin's stupid cuts to shared revenues and limits on levy increases. The DOR's own report indicates that state personal income increased by a huge 9.3% from January through March (while the state was still working under Jim Doyle's last budget), then Act 10 was passed, and it dropped to a 5.3% increase for April-June, then Walker's budget was passed and personal income dropped by 1.1% from July to September. This report indicates personal income growth will rebound and be up between 3.6 to 4.1% for the next 9 months, but given that we've swung from a Spring prediction of Q3 income growth of 3.1% to an actual decline, what makes you think that somehow this is going to come back so easily?
And then this will hit the budget, because the Legislative Fiscal Bureau used those nicer Spring assumptions when they published their revenue numbers for the Walker Budget, and they figured that revenues would increase around 3% for the upcoming year. LFB gets to revise those numbers for both revenues and expenses in 3 months, and you can bet that revenue increase is going to go down, and the unemployment and other social safety net expenses will go up, and our budget won't be close to "balanaced" any more.
You can tell the Walker folks know their empty job boasts have caught up to them, which might explain the surprising departure of his second DWD Secretary today. Sorry Scotty, but it's the reality that you created with your bad policies that have led to these brutal jobs numbers, not the messengers and cheerleaders hired to prop up things at the DWD. Unless you are truly that naive to think that what's holding the economy back in Wisconsin isn't a lack of take-home pay by the consumers who make up the vast majority of our business transactions, and that it's really all some kind of vague confidence game.
Then again, Scotty's never held a real job in the working world, so maybe that's why he still clings to these fairy tales of "job creators" and "low taxes" being the magic beans that sprout an economy (or he just thinks the Koch money's nice enough to keep saying that bullshit, one of the two). Those of us who actually have worked know better, and that's why Walker's tenure as governor is already more than half over.