Presidential candidate Scott Walker today published a self-serving editorial today about his budget in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that was constituted of evasions, misrepresentations and outright fibs.
Here is a point-by-point analysis of the Walker propaganda:
“Tax relief: More than $630 million in tax relief to cut middle-class taxes and lower tax rates; holds the line on property taxes; helps key industries such as manufacturing and agriculture grow in our state.”
FACT: After raising taxes on seniors and working families by nearly $70 million in his first budget, while giving out $2.3 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, Scott Walker is blowing up the state’s structural deficit to a whopping $664 million to give out a tax cut averaging $83 per year, per family – most of which will benefit the upper tax brackets.
“Job creation: Additional resources to improve the business climate and promote job growth; new funds to assist entrepreneurs in start-up ventures, as well as aid for military veterans to create new companies; expands marketing of business and tourism opportunities.”
FACT: Due to Scott Walker’s extreme austerity measures and his in attention to job growth, Wisconsin ranks 44th in the nation in job creation and dead last in the Midwest in every economic indicator. The latest federal jobs data also shows that Wisconsin has experienced a sharp uptick in its unemployment rate – an increase not mirrored in the national economy or among neighboring states.
“Workforce development: Nearly $100 million in new state dollars for grants, technical colleges and other programs to help train skilled workers for jobs in key industries; funds aid for academic and career assessments in our schools.”
FACT: -This budget fails to introduce any substantive economic development programs and throws chump change at worker training after a 30% reduction in funding to technical colleges in the last budget. Scott Walker’s budget only replaces $5 million of the $72 million he cut from technical colleges, leaving those institutions funded at 1989 levels. More than double that amount is devoted to a slick marketing campaign designed to whitewash Scott Walker’s historic jobs failure and timed to coincidentally line up with his 2014 re-election campaign.
“Education reform: Some $475 million in new funds for K-12, technical college and University of Wisconsin System support; incentives for high-performing and rapid-growth schools; helps to turn around failing schools; expands choice and charter schools; additional support for early childhood reading skills.”
FACT: After a historic $1.6 billion cut to public education, Scott Walker’s budget does not add a single penny in new spending to the classroom. At the same time, Walker’s budget increases taxpayer spending on unaccountable voucher schools by more than 30%.
“Higher education: The UW System says our budget support will lead to the lowest tuition increase in a decade; new resources in our technical colleges connected to performance.”
FACT: Scott Walker’s last biennial budget increased fees by more than $106 million in the form of UW System tuition hikes. Scott Walker has also voiced his support for the radical Republican sequester that has cut critical federal research funding from the University of Wisconsin.
“True independence: Transitions people from government dependence to true independence by requiring able-bodied, working-age adults without dependent children to be enrolled in job training to get assistance so they can move into available jobs.”
FACT: Scott Walker’s policies have widened the skills gap, making it more difficult for job-seekers to find work. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has experienced a sharp uptick in recent months, a change not mirrored in the national economy. Walker Republicans have also forced changes to the state’s unemployment system which require job-seekers to wait an extra week before claiming needed unemployment insurance benefits.
“Public safety: More resources to crack down on Internet crimes against children; funds program to use DNA to solve crimes; funds to track restraining orders in domestic violence cases.”
FACT: Budgetary cuts forced by Walker’s Act 10 have caused cities and counties to cut public safety expenditures, including peace officers, and prison assaults on staff are up significantly within the Department of Corrections.
“Health care: Reduces the number of uninsured by 224,580; increases support for cancer treatment and research; improves access in rural and impoverished areas.”
FACT: Scott Walker’s estimates are pure fantasy. He turned down federal funds to expand Wisconsin’s successful BadgerCare program.The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that the expansion of BadgerCare would cover an additional 175,000 Wisconsinites and save the state more than $66 million over the first three years. Other estimates indicate that expansion could create as many as 10,000 new Wisconsin jobs.
“Natural resources: Implements plan to improve hunting experience; increases resources to monitor frac sand operations.”
FACT: Scott Walker’s Department of Natural Resources is stacked with Walker political appointees more interested in advancing business interests and protecting Walker campaign donors than with protecting our natural resources. According to news reports, former Republican legislator Scott Gunderson and other Walker appointees at the DNR obstructed standard procedure for a waste hauler found to have spread human waste in Waukesha County fields at a rate of three times what was considered safe by regulators.Owner Richard Herr and his wife had given campaign donations to Scott Gunderson, Scott Walker, Joel Kleefisch and more than $2,000 to Rebecca Kleefisch.
“Veterans: Hires additional staff to provide exceptional care for our aging veterans; promotes benefits for returning service members; helps find work for veterans.”
FACT: Two top aides to both Scott Walker’s campaign and his County administration were sentenced to prison for their roles in embezzling funds intended to benefit wounded veterans and their families. The felony theft occurred in connection with Operation Freedom – a yearly Milwaukee County event purported to honor veterans that was instead a campaign event for Scott Walker.