Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies could face a somewhat rougher time providing more money for schools, transportation and other services in their state, thanks to new, disappointing revenue data.
Walker touts his budgets in appearances around the country as he weighs a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, noting how he erased a big deficit and cut spending and taxes.
This year, he and his Wisconsin Republicans were aiming to restore some cuts Walker had hoped revenue could be found to help ease some reductions.
Wednesday, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau noted in a memo tax collections for the fiscal year ending next month were growing 3.4 percent, instead of the previously estimated 3.7 percent, due largely to slower than anticipated growth in personal income and personal consumption expenditures.
Walker tweeted Wednesday that “revenue numbers today are consistent with our budget. Still, we met w/legislative leaders to find ways to make our schools whole in budget.”
In Madison, Associated Press reported: “As recently as Tuesday, Republican co-chairs of the Legislature's budget committee said they were hoping for improved projections so money could be spent on K-12 schools and to reduce Walker's $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System. Republicans have also said they want to reduce Walker's $1.3 billion in borrowing to pay for roads.
“But Wednesday's news means the Legislature will face even harder decisions in the coming weeks as the Joint Finance Committee makes changes to Walker's budget, first proposed in February. The committee is hoping to complete its work by the end of the month, with the Senate and Assembly voting on the budget in June.”
Democrats pounced. “Today’s news puts Walker’s irresponsible and backwards budget priorities in stark terms,” said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “From slashing higher education and gutting investments that benefit middle class Wisconsinites, this is just another example of Walker’s failed leadership in Wisconsin. Scott Walker has all the wrong priorities – a lagging economy and disastrous budgets – and now Walker wants to do to the nation what he did to Wisconsin. No thanks.”