Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sorry Scotty, decent revenue numbers don't fix 7 years of failure

As I predicted last week, today the Legislative Fiscal Bureau released its updated revenue figures for the rest of the 2017-19 budget. And overall, the figures were pretty good news, as the state has some more money to play with.
Based upon our analysis, we project the closing, net general fund balance at the end of this biennium (June 30, 2019) to be $385.2 million. This is $137.5 million above the balance that was projected at the time of enactment of the 2017-19 biennial budget (2017 Act 59).

The $137.5 million is the net result of: (1) an increase of $76.3 million in estimated tax collections; (2) an increase of $1.7 million in departmental revenues (non-tax receipts deposited into the general fund); (3) a decrease of $97.7 million in net appropriations, and (4) a transfer of $38.2 million to the budget stabilization fund.
Interestingly, the larger dollar figure in spending reductions is mostly due to the Walker Administration refinancing large amounts of debt at the end of 2017 while these types of bonds could still be written off (under the tax bill, this opportunity ends in 2018).

I would have liked to have seen more on what types of back-door tax increases may result due to the Piece of Shit tax bill, the LFB didn't really go into that, other than some funds from "federalized" tax cuts that largely help the rich in Wisconsin like the AMT. And besides, the topline umbers are good, and that's what our fair Governor wanted to talk about.

One problem with that claim of "finished every budget with a surplus." It simply isn’t true. Let’s go back to high school, and remind ourselves what a deficit is defined as.
A fiscal deficit occurs when a government's total expenditures exceed the revenue that it generates, excluding money from borrowings. Deficit differs from debt, which is an accumulation of yearly deficits.
So now let’s go to the Annual Fiscal Reports for each of Walker’s 6 years, and plug in the numbers. Let’s also add the revenue estimates that were just released.

Year-end balances
FY 2011 $85.6 million
FY 2012 $342.1 million (+$256.5 million, thank a state employee)
FY 2013 $759.2 million (+$417.1 million)

And what did we get for it? Pre-election tax cuts in 2014. And here's the result.

FY 2014 $516.9 million ($242.3 million DEFICIT)
FY 2015 $135.6 million ($381.3 million DEFICIT)

Major cuts to UW and highways follow in the 2015-17 budget.

FY 2016 $331.0 million (+$195.4 million)
FY 2017 $579.0 million (+$248.0 million)
FY 2018 (proj) $652.1 million (+73.1 million)
FY 2019 (proj) $460.2 million ($191.9 million DEFICIT)

So even with those positive revenue numbers, they also show that we are on pace to have a General Fund deficit next year, making it 3 out of 8 years where we will have spent more than we have taken in. And this doesn’t take into account the debt payments Walker skipped in 2015 and 2016 just to keep those numbers above water.

In addition, file this tweet under “How fucking stupid does Scotty think we are?”

Uh, do you remember BUSH’S GREAT RECESSION in 2007-08 (before the Dems took over in 2009) and did you forget about the OBAMA RECOVERY, which got started with job growth in 2010? Because I sure as hell do!

Seriously, take a look at these two charts, and realize that Walker took office in January 2011. Would you call this a successful effort at improving the state’s economy from where he inherited it?

You want to talk about a deficit, Scotty? 115,000 jobs is a helluva deficit.

Expect a lot of similar desperation and cherry-picked spin from Scared Scotty in the next month or two, as he realizes that the prospect of having to get a real job isn’t very appealing. Just be ready to call out the shameless BS when he does.

1 comment:

  1. Yet he and his donors are SO compassionate once election season rolls around...