Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Brewer stimulus- but it won't save Walker's budget

Well, my last post asked Shawn Marcum not to fuck up, but he didn't listen, and now the Brewers' season is over. What a depressing game to go to, where it felt like you were constantly getting kicked in the gut.

But I did find at least one area that's getting an economic bump from Brewtober, concession stands and the groups who help run them. Neat story in the J-S about the 1,100 or so people who work the stands for SportService, and how a decent number of them are folks working for non-profits, who get about 10% of the sales proceeds (same situation works at UW Athletics events, and a lot of other events). And those who are working for pay got an extra 6 games of work in that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten, so I suppose there's going to be a small, unexpected bump in employment that you wouldn't otherwise see for October.

I still don't see it keeping us out of fiscal trouble. Not when the state's asking the UW System to come up with another $65.7 million in cuts in order to match lapses in the state budget. And that number's on top of the $250 million Scotty and the WisGOPs already cut away from the System for 2011-2013. Now lapses happen in almost all government departments in some way, be in it some kind of allowance for vacancies, or as a "figure it out as you go along" blank number, but it's significant that the UW System gets dragged into 3/8ths of the entire state lapse amount- 2 1/2 times the next largest lapse, and a whole lot more than the $278,000 the DOT has over in the same time period. (here's the full list- check it out yourself). Makes you wonder if the fake outrage stories over "double-dipping" of rehiring retirees is some kind of right-wing setup to jack the daylights out of the UW System, because hiring back people who have left service is a common practice across private and public sector jobs that often saves money because of not having to pay benefit costs for new employees. (except we usually call them "consultants")

Buried down in the story is the real headline:
Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch sent out a memo to agency heads that they need to return $174.3 million in state funds to balance the budget. It could be as much as $300 million if state revenues are weaker than predicted, Huebsch wrote.

BALANCED BUDGET MY ASS! Relying on such huge lapses shows your budget was never at $0 to begin with, and we already know over the last month about the $110 million in additional Medicaid cuts, awful job numbers, and lower base of revenues. There's no way we won't have a significant budget deficit that appears over the next few months with those things happening. So then what can Scotty pull out of his little bag of tricks? I'm not going to give those goofballs any ideas here, 'cause they'll be so desperate due to the recalls they're liable to try anything.

As bad as the state budget is, wait till the local budgets get finalized, and places like "No.1 in unemployment" Racine slashes bus service, or Manitowoc lays off 31 city workers and reduces hours for most others, or the City of Stevens Point not providing bags to pick up after dogs and passing off park maintenance to other groups. The snow hasn't even started flying and the potholes bursting yet. Hoo boy.

It'll all start coming out in the next 4 months- right as the recall signatures are gathered. I think it won't take much convincing to get people to sign, and it won't just be because of the power-grabs and arrogance- it'll be because things have truly gotten much worse in Wisconsin.

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