In their Saturday morning coverage of the Recall Gubernatorial Debate, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel included this quote from Governor Walker:
Walker said the law change has led to savings for taxpayers – his administration has pegged those at more than $1 billion from workers having to pay more for benefits and schools being able to rebid insurance contracts.
“The facts are the facts. Our reforms are working and putting more people to work,” Walker said.
The governor’s administration has determined the savings to state taxpayers at $1 billion. I am not sure how accurate this number is. I imagine economists, statisticians, and political hacks could have a field day parsing this all out. And I am guessing that if the administration erred it was on the high side. Just a feeling that I have. But when these numbers get bandied about, there is always a flip side to the coin. If this is heads, let’s discuss tails! (and for sake of discussion I am using the billion dollar figure even though I know that not all of the ‘savings’ came from wage deductions. But just like the governor’s staff, I like the sound of it).
So, our state, county, municipal, and educational taxing authorities saved a billion dollars for taxpayers. This was simply through transferring their costs to their employees. Understood…not going to argue the value of this change here!
That’s HEADS, here’s TAILS:
That’s $1 billion not being spent at food and grocery stores all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion not being spent at department and specialty stores all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion not being spent at restaurants and bars all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion not being spent at gasoline stations all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion in deferred home and auto maintenance all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion not being spent on cultural and recreational activities all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion not being donated to charity, religious, or non-profits all across Wisconsin.
That’s $1 billion being cleanly stolen, right off the top of an already suffering economy in Wisconsin.
OK, wait for the irony:
AND that’s $1 billion that is no longer subject to state and federal income taxes.
AND that’s $1 billion that is not generating any state sales tax, gasoline tax or license and permit fees across the state of Wisconsin.