Friday, July 10, 2015

Koo-Koo: Not just dead drunk, also dead wrong

You may have heard that Wedenesday's budget debate in the State Assembly got delayed by a bomb threat for a couple of hours, which cleared the State Capitol, and led some legislators to bars on the Square to have a couple of drinks during the delay. And apparently some of them confused "bomb threat" with "get bombed", because that sure seems to be the state of mind of State Rep. Dale (Koo-Koo) Kooyenga as he tried to justify the tax cuts ("IN 35 SECONDS!") that he promoted in this and prior state budgets.

Change June 2013-June 2014
CPI +2.1%
Wisconsin 12-month total tax revenues -1.0%

Change May 2013 vs. May 2015
CPI +2.1%
Wisconsin total tax revenues +3.68%
CPI less food and energy +3.73%

So that argument of "increased tax revenues 2 times the rate of inflation" wasn't true at all in year 1 that the Koo-Koo tax cuts and lower withholdings took effect, and it's only been because gas prices plummeted in the last 2 years (which had NOTHING to do with Wisconsin tax policy) that the state's revenues exceeded 1 time the rate of inflation over the last 2 years. So Koo-Koo's drunk ramblings about revenue are already false at best, and definitely dishonest as to the reasons why, because Wisconsin doesn't have a sales tax for gasoline, which means that revenues were not affected by the drop in gas prices, but were affected by the rise in prices by many other products.

And here's where the state's lackluster revenue growth is doubly awful, because take a look at what federal revenues have done over roughly the same time period. The fiscal years are a little different (feds are Oct-Sept.) but you'll get the idea. I'll also compare income and corporate taxes, since there really isn't a federal sales tax, and I'll add $165 million to Wisconsin's FY 2014 collections due to the lower withholdings that started hitting in April of that year, to get an apples-to-apples comparison

Change in income + corporate tax revenues
Federal Fiscal Year 2013 vs 2014 +7.89%
Wisconsin Fiscal Year 2013 vs. 2014 -2.72%

Federal Fiscal Year (proj) Oct-May2014 vs Oct-May FY2015 +12.13%
Wisconsin Oct-May 2014 vs Oct- May 2015 +7.06%

Wisconsin's number in the second comparison is actually skewed higher because of the lower withholdings not taking effect until April 2014, which meant higher tax refunds in early 2014 and lower tax refunds in early 2015. And we still underperformed. The same pattern of Wisconsin lagging U.S. revenue growth is projected to follow with the next two fiscal years

Federal Fiscal Year 2015 vs 2017 +19.63%
Wisconsin State Fiscal Year 2015 vs 2017 +11.23%

So what becomes obvious when you look at the numbers is that Koo-Koo Kooyenga should have been thanking the Obama Recovery for any increased revenues in Wisconsin since Koyenga's dimwitted tax cuts were put in place starting in early 2013. You'd hope the alcohol would have allowed some of that unwanted truth to slip out of Koo-Koo's mouth, but maybe he's the type of guy who gets even more obnoxious and full of himself when he boozes (the frat guys and mediocre businessmen types tend to be that way).


  1. When I watched the video the first time, I thought 'I wonder what Jake will have to say about that' -- Thanks, Jake (as always) for giving us the facts.

    1. I didn't know Kooyenga had made the claim until this morning, I just saw a post that mentioned the smug suburb boy was drunk on the Assembly floor, and I figured I'd check it out. Then he made the claim of revenue growing and I said "I don't think that's right..."

      Thanks for the nice words, I didn't realize I had this level of credibility - I'm just some dude with a nerdy hobby