Monday, September 4, 2017

No revenue news, Fox-con and toll roads getting jammed through? Bad signs

It's bad enough that Friday's pre-holiday news dump in Wisconsin was the Wisconsin GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee deciding to jam through the Foxconn package along with the rest of the state budget. But let me point to another item of sketchiness in Fitzwalkerstan that's also budget-related- we don't know how much money the state has.

The year-end revenue numbers are traditionally released in the last week of August or at the latest September 1 (if you look at recent history). So I thoroughly expected those figures to be released last week, and cynically predicted that they would be dumped out on Friday afternoon before the Holiday weekend, in an attempt to cover up bad news. But instead, the revenue numbers haven't been released to the public at all, which makes me wonder if it'll be buried until after Joint Finance discusses the Fox-con and the budget effects it'll have for this budget as well as future ones. If those revenue numbers end up short, then it becomes more difficult to justify the Fox-con as well as other budget giveaways like reducing the personal property tax on business equipment or the removal of the state's Alternative Minimum Tax, which mostly falls on the rich.

I also noted this item in a rundown from the AP's Scott Bauer on the numerous issues and provisions that have to be straightened out in tomorrow's Joint Finance sessions.
How aggressively to move forward with instituting toll roads in Wisconsin, a change that would take years and require federal approval.
We haven't heard anything about toll roads for a couple of months now. I theorized when the Fox-con was first revealed that toll roads might be associated with it, but the Foxconn bill says nothing about allowing toll roads in that area.

It's intriguing to me that Bauer would mention toll roads as a possibility for tomorrow's session. And since this is supposed to be the last session of the budget, we might also be looking at a late-night "999" bill with a whole lot of other crap in it. We earlier were given promises from the WisGOP co-chairs of the Finance Committee that non-fiscal policy items would be removed from the budget and that the 999 measure would be insignificant, after the blowup in 2015 behind WisGOP's attempts to gut the state' open records law.

But that was before the Fox-con, before the possibility of lower tax revenues, and before Donald Trump and Scott Walker's approval levels started slipping further. A lot of things are coming together in a bad way, and tomorrow may result in many things to react to and lead to increased damaged to clean up from. Be ready.


  1. It's hard to be ready for things that are jammed down our throats.

    If this is turning into another 999-no hearing-omnibus budget "solution" (to a budget that is now more than 2 months past due), Wisconsin voters are screwed, and makes you wonder about why you should pay your taxes. Just sayin'...

    1. I know people say "Process arguments don't work," but they are relevant here. WisGOP has been secretive, insular and dysfunctional throughout the last 4-5 months, and it's led to understaffed schools, delayed road projects, and no sustainable policies.

      They deserve to be FIRED for what they have done (and not done).