Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Wisconsin budget geek's Bible- and a Big Lie on DOT funding

As we go through the state budget, it's important to know exactly what all of these programs are, and how much funding they get (and have gotten).

With that in mind, let me forward you to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's Informational Papers, which you should consistently refer back to over the coming months.

And given that Transportation Funding is going to be a big deal in this budget, with many choices and directions that can be taken (as evidenced by a good, in-depth article from Mark Sommerhauser in the Wisconsin State Journal today), let me throw this bit out there from the Informational Paper on Transportation Finance. Because you know WisGOP and GOP-perganda media will try to perpetuate a Big Lie on how "the Transportation Fund is only in trouble due to Jim Doyle's raids."

One look at Page 13 of the PDF of this informational paper shows that WisGOP talking point is 100% FALSE.

Transfers between Transportation Fund and General Fund 2003-2017
$1.42 billion Trans. Fund cash to Gen Fund (all between 2003-2011)
$43.9 million Trans Fund debt service paid by Gen Fund ('03-'05)

$1.56 billion borrowing from Gen Fund to pay for Trans. Fund projects (all budgets from 2003-2017)
$446.1 million General Fund cash to Trans. Fund (all since 2011)

NET TRANSFER 2003-2017

That's right, nearly $561 million more has been sent over from the General Fund to the DOT than was ever "raided" by Jim Doyle. And even worse, that $1.56 billion in borrowing for DOT projects continues to be paid back with interest, so the total tab is likely to be much higher than that. And since the General Fund includes the vast majority of other state spending, including schools, aid to local communities, and Corrections, all of those sources are getting squeezed by this need to use the General Fund to pay off debt for these DOT projects.

And now the Assembly GOP's floated budget plan indicates that they are planning to shift another $600 million from the General Fund to the Transportation Fund for 2017-19. If true, that would mean the state would have shifted a net total of $1.16 billion dollars to the DOT over 16 years. Think our schools, or the UW, or local services could have used some of that money?

Keep these stats in your back pocket, as I have little doubt that WisGOPs will try to float the "alternative fact" that the "Doyle raids" caused the DOT fund to be in a deficit. It is a bald-faced LIE, and in fact, more money has been stolen from the General Fund to pay for the DOT.


  1. It has already happened for media media to be blaming Doyle. Check out this article out of the Chippewa fish wrap.

    1. Yep, that's the Sommerhauser article I referenced earlier. Chippewa Herald just re-ran it. It has the cheap "Doyle raid" reference in there without the context that much more money has been dumped back into the DOT Fund from the General taxpayer.