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.