This latest bad news is exactly why Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his allies in the Republican-controlled legislature should have been more fiscally responsible instead of giving out a $500 million tax cut that primarily benefited the wealthy and big corporations.
State tax collections are lagging both last year’s figures and expectations for this year, according to the latest state numbers.
The state Department of Revenue released tax collections for this fiscal year through April, showing that the state has collected $10.53 billion since July 1, down 0.2% from the same period in the previous year. The state budget has built in 1% growth for this year.
Falling short of that budget target could bring pain for the state, which is counting on its revenues continuing to grow at a modest rate.
For instance, before the release of these numbers the state was already projected to spend $559 million more out of its main account next year than it has budgeted to take in.
Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers passed a more than $500 million tax cut bill in March and the effects of those tax changes are already starting to hold down how much income tax is being withheld from workers’ paychecks.
Hopefully this latest news will blow dispel the notion that Gov. Walker and Republicans in Wisconsin are fiscally responsible, because they’re clearly not.
Update: And for what it’s worth, I’d argue that this is yet another example of how Gov. Walker’s program of austerity – a program that started with his efforts to take more money out of the pockets of public employees (which by extension took money out of our state’s economy) – has done nothing but bad things for Wisconsin, whether we’re talking about smaller than expected tax collections, an economy that lags behind our neighbors, or our state’s lackluster job creation numbers.