As 2012 begins, a list of how the Walker budget cuts needs to be shown to show how much the cuts are, who it affects and who gets the tax breaks and loopholes from Walker that are funded on the backs of the middle, working and poor classes in Wisconsin. These estimates are provided based on sources from the Wisconsin Department of Administration and Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget documents available. There is a lot of complexity in illustrating all of the budget cuts and this list attempts to shine the light on how Walker and the Republicans clearly have their priorities:
|Walker Administration Budget Cuts to Wisconsin Families, Seniors, Poor, Children, Students, Unemployed, Disabled and Others Over Biennium 2012-2013|
|University of Wisconsin system||$250 million||Students|
|Technical colleges||$70 million||Students|
|K-12 public schools||$834 million||Students|
|Local government programs (various)||$139 million||Slower services, smaller staff, cutbacks|
|Department of Corrections||$53 million||Public safety|
|Low-income tax relief||$49 million||Poor population|
|Medicaid programs||$500 million||Seniors, poor|
|Public transportation programs||$49 million||Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
|Wisconsin Shares-Child Care Support||$224 million||Poor, children|
|BadgerCare||65,000 Wisconsinites losing coverage including 29,000 children||Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
|FoodShare Program Supplemental Funds||$380,000||Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
(pending federal legal actions)
|Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
|SeniorCare||Major damage to program structure||Seniors, disabled, others|
|Family Planning Services for Men||$73,200
|Tobacco Control Program||$685,000||Wisconsin citizens|
|Mental Health||$1 million||Wisconsin citizens|
|Rural health dental clinics||$300,500||Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
|Income Support Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)||$41 million||Seniors, poor, children, students, disabled, others|
Transitional Jobs Program
|Seniors, poor, students, disabled, others|
|Homestead Tax Credit||$8 million||Wisconsin citizens|
|Head Start||$12.5 million||Poor, children|
|High Poverty Aid||$3.74 million||Seniors, poor, students, disabled, others|
|Walker Tax Breaks for Top 1% Investor Class and Political Contributors|
|Group||Tax deductions/loopholes||Who pays|
|$177 million||Wisconsin citizens|
|Investors||$36 million||Wisconsin citizens|
Source: Wisconsin Department of Administration and Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget documents
There have been more explanations on the complexity of the Walker budget cuts and while the full damage of the cuts is to be revealed as 2012 advances, here are some indications of what will occur:
- The Department of Justice is dealing with a $2.46 million cut by, in part, cutting $1.36 million from criminal history searches and fingerprint identification. The agency earns revenue by performing such searches for businesses.
- The Department of Corrections is dealing with a $9.46 million hit by cutting $3.8 million in operational cuts such as fuel and utilities, $3.9 million in youth aids and $846,400 in sex offender management.
- The Department of Children and Families is dealing with its $8.3 million cut by slashing “income augmentation funds” by $8.1 million. Department officials did not return calls Friday.
- The Department of Health Services is sending back to the state $18.6 million it received from the federal government as part of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The money is an unbudgeted bonus awarded to states that have simplified enrollment and renewal for Medicaid and CHIP and also have increased Medicaid enrollment of children, said DHS spokeswoman Beth Kaplan.
By far, the hardest hit was the UW System, which was directed in October to find $46.1 million in cuts this year and another $19.7 million in 2012-13.
UW System President Kevin Reilly has called UW’s cuts “highly disproportionate,” noting that the system gets 7 percent of state funding but is taking 38 percent of the cuts.
Huebsch has denied that, saying UW’s cuts are proportionate when you consider that certain funds, such as school aids and medical assistance, are exempt from cuts.
Reilly this month wrote a letter to Brian Hayes, state budget director, saying the cuts could result in fewer instructors and course offerings.
On Friday, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, criticized Walker over the cuts.
“This latest draconian cut targeting our universities explains why Wisconsin is one of the worst states for job losses since the governor passed his economic plan in the budget,” he said.
There have been a lot of debate about how the Walker budget cuts don’t have to be so extreme and focused on hurting those who need the help the most with assistance in these tough times, especially with millions of dollars taken out of the economy through the cuts as well as continuing private sector job losses since Walker’s budget cuts were made law. Some alternatives include:
- Collect tax on investment profits to raise $140 million
- A surtax on incomes over $250,000 raises $168 million
- A sales tax on business and professional services raises $322 million
- Boost sales tax by one penny to raise $860 million a year
We’ll see how Walker and the Fitzwalkerstan Cult’s use of “austerity measures” on the backs of the working and poor will somehow improve the business climate in Wisconsin, a state leading the country in job losses ever since their policies have been implemented.