Where’s the Revenue?

Scott Walker and the Republicans in the Legislature are counting on increases in revenue to reduce cuts to public elementary and secondary education. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald mentioned this in an interview with Mike Gousha on April 10th, and Mr. Walker did so in his telephone check-in with Wisconsin April 17th.

I like the idea of reducing or eliminating the cuts to public school funding, of course, but relying on increased revenues sounds pie in the sky to me. DWD reports the number of jobs in Wisconsin is shrinking (-4300 seasonally adjusted in March) and labor force participation rate is down .2% between February and March 2015. Wisconsin continues to lag behind the nation in wage growth, and the recent passage of the so-called “right to work” legislation, along with the push to repeal the prevailing wage law, could push wages down further. And the full implementation of the agricultural and manufacturing tax credit will mean the loss of more tax revenue, to the tune of  $120 million in 2016 and $156 million in 2017, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project. Add in the job losses from people taking buyouts at the several UW campuses that have offered them and layoffs where those are necessary, and income tax revenues will necessarily be dropping.

So where is this increased revenue supposed to arise? I wish I knew.


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11 thoughts on “Where’s the Revenue?

  1. Joanne, best not to publicly display ignorance. Almost all of the 400 positions are unfilled hence not paying any revenue. Libs are so much fun to destroy.

    1. WI Con,

      Few are your equal when it comes to, “displaying ignorance.”

      To what “400 positions,” are you referring?

  2. This is my question. I’ve seen nothing in the revenue numbers that show some kind of major increase over projections. In fact, it looks like the corporate tax revenues are coming in lower than expected, and U.S. economic growth isn’t looking so hot. So SHOW US THE MONEY.

    It’s also a major tell that this budget is angering everybody across the state, as exhibited in Walker’s tanking approval ratings and 70%+ disapproval of the cuts to education. If those revenues don’t come in, the only way they can balance the budget and add school funding is by taking the expanded Medicaid in Obamacare (Vos and Walker say they won’t do that), raise taxes (which Grover Norquist and the Koch-Bradley funders of these GOPs won’t allow), or borrowing huge amounts of money (good luck explaining that one to fiscal conservatives).

    Or they could use the $72 million in extra Transportation funds to fill in some of these holes….OH WAIT, the Road Builders Amendment from last year prevents that!

    Watch the shell game and lying spin sure to come up from the GOP, because they can’t fund what they say they’ll fund with the money that’s out there right now.

  3. On March 18, 2015, Michigan’s DNR sold Graymont mining company the right to pave forest roads and put a limestone mine in Michigan’s Lake Superior state forest in the UP.
    (DNR foresters initially opposed the deal, yet the DNR approved it.)
    “The Sierra Club opposed the sale, too, saying the DNR is failing to follow state law in determining surplus state lands. The land deal involves 10 times more acreage than any previous sale and is the largest single public land deal in Michigan history….’As proposed, the Graymont sale would establish a dangerous precedent and undermine our longstanding Michigan tradition of ensuring publicly owned lands that we value today are also there for future generations of Michiganders,’ Sierra Club forest ecologist Marvin Roberson said.”

    In Wisconsin, the gag rule is not just a personal vendetta. “As Bloomberg points out,” [referenced in a Newsweek article online] “the Wisconsin [gag order] leaves the staff of the public land trust unable to speak about how climate change may impact the land it is charged with overseeing. According to the latest US National Climate Assessment, pine, maple, birch, spruce, fir, aspen, and beech forests, which are common in the Midwest, are likely to decline over the next century as the climate warms.” (There’s a link to Newsweek article near the end of this blog post: http://allthingsenvironmental.com/2015/04/12/state-of-wisconsin-board-of-commissioners-of-public-lands-bans-staff-from-discussing-global-warming-and-climate-change/

    Maybe revenue for schools grows on trees; DNR’s hauled a lot of ash out of here.

    And finally, on April 13, 2015, Minnesota Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman recommended approval of the Sandpiper pipeline route to run Bakken crude through Northern Minnesota to Superior, WI. A Comment to a recent post in Midwest Energy News (April 16, 2015) brings me to the point I wish to make here, by exposing the crux of the situation: wherein Judge Lipman alludes to the fact that legislative shenanigans (similar to “rules & laws” like Wisconsin’s rewritten mining law and recent gag order) can make bad things happen down the road. I’ve copied the Comment here:

    “The ALJ’s report has come out, and he has found that Enbridge has shown a need for the pipeline, and that their preferred route is the only route. Crumbs to that. The really interesting thing is a 3 page Memorandum he’s included after 100 pages of report & legal opinion. Check it out here: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=eDocketsResult&docketYear=13&docketNumber=473#{6528E44A-9944-4D8E-ABF2-0F5B263C91D2} Click on document 20154-109233-01 , 2nd in the list.
    In the Memorandum, Judge Eric Lipman suggests that the way the rules & laws are written does not allow for the issues of climate change, leaving the fossil fuels in the ground, and avoiding highly sensitive environments to be considered, and that maybe the PUC would want to change its rules.”

    It seems to me that Earth Day 2015 is about preventing the dystopian destruction that results from rules & laws that allow unlimited movement by corporations to create capital from “surplus” land and mineral resources.

    1. La Mer, thanks a lot. Any evidence that ALEC’s behind the actions in Michigan?

      1. John,
        Thank you for Blogging Blue! I found preliminary proof of ALEC involvement. More digging would probably reveal direct evidence. Here’s a link to ProgressMICHIGAN November 13, 2013 press release:

        CONTACT: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org
        From report, p. 11: “In terms of revenue, expenses, and net assets, the Mackinac Center is one of the largest state-based conservative think tanks in the country. It had net assets totaling over $7.5 million in fiscal year 2010 and over $9.5 million in fiscal year 2011. The Mackinac Center is not required to reveal its donors, but available records from foundations show that much of its funding comes from outside of Michigan, including over $2.6 million from the secretive Koch brothers-funded DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, which collectively have been called ‘the dark money ATM of the conservative movement.'”


        Here are six points relevant to anti-environmental legislation (from Alec Exposed web site, below, pp. 71-72):
        1. “In 2010, Rep. Tom McMillin introduced a House Resolution urging the Governor to withdraw Michigan from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (HR 277) which is nearly identical to ALEC’s ‘State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives’ model legislation. HR277 did not pass.”

        You’ll note ALEC’s board of directors approved this template bill on 5/4/10…and McMillin introduced it in Michigan the following day, on 5/5/10.

        ALEC template:

        2. A similar (identical?) bill was reintroduced the following year (2011) as Michigan Legislation: HR 134
        Eight ALEC sponsors*: Aric Nesbitt* – (primary); Bob Genetski, Ben Glardon, Ed McBroom, Dave Agema*, Pete Lund*, Tom McMillin*, Pat Somerville,Eileen Kowall*, Joe Haveman, Marty Knollenberg, Mike Shirkey*, Kevin Cotter, Ray Franz, Matt Lori*, Frank Foster, Al Pscholka, Rick Outman, Jon Bumstead, Hugh D. Crawford, Kurt Heise, Thomas Hooker, Matt Huuki, Kenneth Kurtz*
        Status: Referred to Committee on Energy and Technology (9/27/2011)…

        3. This next bill was introduced in 2011 as Michigan Legislation: HR 19: Opposing Environmental Safety Regulations which calls for the EPA to stop regulating Greenhouse Gases.
        Five ALEC Sponsors*: Aric Nesbitt* – (primary), Bob Genetski, Dave Agema*, Al Pscholka, Ray Franz, Matt Huuki, Mike Shirkey*, Deb Shaughnessy, Tom McMillin*, Ed McBroom, Peter MacGregor,Peter Pettalia, Frank Foster, Nancy Jenkins, Andrea LaFontaine, Marty Knollenberg, LisaLyons, Thomas Hooker, Greg MacMaster, Rick Olson, Amanda Price*, Sharon Tyler
        Status: Died by roll call vote (3/2/2011)

        4. Also, this one: REINS ACT (2011) Michigan Legislation: SR 27
        Four ALEC Sponsors*: Michael Kowall* – (primary), Jack Brandenburg, Thomas Casperson, Phillip Pavlov, Michael Green*, Mike Nofs, Patrick Colbeck, Darwin Booher*, John Proos, Roger Kahn, Tonya Schuitmaker*, Judith Emmons, James Marleau

        Resolution in Support of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act “calls on Congress to pass this legislation that would give Congress the authority to block the enforcement of numerous important federal protections, including clean air and water laws…” (John, I’m not sure of the status of this 2011 bill, nor have I investigated ALEC’s possible –probable — influence in getting the Graymont deal approved by MDNR last month…La Mer.)

        5. Finally, Graymont was discussed during the July 16, 2014 meeting of the Forest Management Advisory Committee (FMAC) here:

        6. Here, in comparison, are minutes of the January 15, 2014 FMAC meeting (…I did not see any mention of the Graymont land swap/sale…but was unable to open the link to the FMAC Strategic Plan on p. 3, item VIII):

        This research is performed for Mother EARTH, Sacred WATERS; every day is Earth Day.

          1. De rien: you’re welcome, don’t mention it, no problem…

            unless the insanity cannot be prevented now.

  4. …and this was treaty-protected land, too: “Though the tribes were unsuccessful in their bid to get an injunction against the company, the judge did refer the matter to the Court’s Magistrate to see whether or not it should be assigned to the judge who is overseeing the consent decree, Bellfy said in the group’s statement.
    Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/04/14/michigan-sells-treaty-protected-pristine-public-land-limestone-mine-159996

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