On the heels of last week’s news that the state’s tax collections were lagging behind projections comes news the state of Wisconsin will spend $559 million more out of its main account next year than it is expected to take in, according to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Predictably, Gov. Scott Walker’s Republican lapdogs in the legislature were quick to defend his borrow and spend record, with Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald saying, “The figure is about what we expected. Even modest economic growth will eliminate the structural deficit heading into the next budget cycle.”
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Fitzgerald’s claim begs the question. If merely modest economic growth now enables the state to avoid a half billion structural deficit, why did the last structural deficit (based in large measure on overly inflated estimates of what state agencies would have like to spend) require apparently permanent, draconian cuts to school aids and public employee compensation? Wouldn’t we be growing ourselves out of that problem now, too? Oh, right, Team Walker gave all the revenue growth away in high-end tax breaks. Also, why only “modest” growth under Walkerism? Weren’t we supposed to be soaring past other states by now?
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