Skip to comments.Occupy Democrats group says Wisconsin is 'dead broke' due to actions by Scott Walker, GOP
Posted on 07/10/2015 12:15:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
A Facebook meme posted by a liberal Democratic group puts a new twist on an old claim that the state of Wisconsin is "broke."
The post by Occupy Democrats includes a photo of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and this statement:
"Last year, Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a $541 million tax cut for millionaires and corporations. Today, Wisconsins budget is $283 million in the red, funding for education is being slashed, government programs are being gutted, and the state is about to miss a $108 million debt payment -- because it is dead broke."
In the comments below the meme, the group posted: "Governor Scott Walker is committing political malpractice against the people of Wisconsin." Readers are directed to a Feb. 18, 2015 Washington Post story that looks at the states finances.
Occupy Democrats was founded by Omar Rivero, an unsuccessful 2014 Democratic nominee for the Florida state House. The group frequently posts provocative memes that draw considerable attention. The March 15, 2015 "dead broke" post continues to make the rounds and had been shared more than 18,000 times as of July 1, 2015.
The group did not respond to an email asking for backup for the claim.
The claim Wisconsin is "broke" is familiar -- though in the past we have heard it from the other side of the aisle. Walker and other Republicans have used it to describe the condition of the states finances when they took office in 2011.
When we reviewed those claims -- from Walker in 2011 and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke in June of 2015 -- we rated them False. The state wasnt out of money and its financial condition didnt match the definition of "broke," which suggests at or near bankruptcy.
Whats more, the state had numerous tools available to deal with any shortfall -- even if some of the options, such as tax increases, were declared off limits by Walker and Republicans.
So what about the Occupy Democrats claim that various actions by Walker have left the state "dead broke"?
Behind the claim
Before the group gets to its central point, it lays out a list of assertions that amount to its evidence. Some of them -- education being "slashed" and government programs "gutted" -- are offered without specifics. In the cases where details are provided, the picture is not always so clean.
Take the tax cut.
Walker did sign a $541 million tax cut approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature on March 24, 2014.
The package cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zeroed out all income taxes for Wisconsin manufacturers. It also reduced the amount of state taxes withheld from workers paychecks.
Thus, the package wasnt directed exclusively at "millionaires and corporations," as Occupy Democrats claimed. Citing a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick noted "the largest percentage of tax reductions went to those making between $15,000 and $20,000."
At the time the 2014 tax cut was approved, projections showed that the state was on track to have a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015.
Times changed, and so do budget projections.
In November 2014, the Walker administration said that surplus had melted into a $132 million shortfall. In January 2015, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the shortfall was $283 million because tax collections were $173 million lower than expected.
To close the gap, in February 2015, Walker's administration said it would skip $108 million in debt payments in May 2015. That, too, was cited as evidence of being broke by Occupy Democrats. Other steps were taken as well, including refinancing of state debt.
At the time, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said under the move the state would only pay the interest on certain obligations. Such a delay is allowed under terms of the borrowing, an administration spokesman said. However, taxpayers would need to make higher principal and interest payments in the future, starting with an additional $19.3 million in the two-year budget that began July 1, 2015.
But this deferral strategy is nothing new. It has been employed for years by Walker and previous governors, including his predecessor Democrat Jim Doyle. Its even got a nickname: "Scoop and toss" -- as in scoop up the debt and toss it into the future for others to address.
So, while its true that Walker skipped a payment, its a financing move thats not unusual, and not an indication of bankruptcy or similar financial calamity.
Indeed, the move helped bring the 2013-15 budget into balance.
That points us back to the groups "dead broke" claim.
In our earlier items, we noted that dictionaries define "broke" as "having no money; bankrupt" and "without money; penniless."
But the state is still paying its bills and there has been no indication that it's on the brink of bankruptcy or insolvency. Further, under federal law, the state is not allowed to make such a declaration.
Said Patrick: "There is no imbalance and Wisconsin is not dead broke. "
Some may find such a statement from Walkers office ironic. But that does not mean it is inaccurate.
In a Facebook meme, the group Occupy Democrats says Wisconsin is "dead broke" because of various actions by Walker and Republicans.
Yes, there were tax cuts, and cuts to many programs along the way. All are evidence of changing policy priorities, with Republicans in charge. But they are not evidence the state is "dead broke." Whats more, this claim has been rated False enough times that to keep making pushes it to ridiculous.
We rate the claim Pants on Fire.
"Wisconsin ranks 40th in the nation for job growth, or so says a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Many in the media and political circles pounced on the release as evidence that the policies of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a potential presidential candidate, have left the Badger State trailing much of the nation.
But the report failed to give sufficient context to Wisconsins job growth. The BLS, along with other reports touting similar results, ranked states based on how much private employment increased over a year.
Why might Wisconsins employment increase seem modest? One reason could be that more Wisconsinites than people in many other states already had jobs, which they did. Another wrinkle comes from factors like the energy boom in the upper plains states. In states like Wisconsin not so blessed with shale, job growth can seem comparatively slow.
Lets look at Wisconsins employment growth since Mr. Walker took office. Since February 2011, Wisconsins employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly...
Given that Wisconsins unemployment has dropped to 4.6% from 5.6% in the past year, the state is in the enviable position of having lowered unemployment while increasing labor-force participation. Not surprisingly, this has helped Wisconsin move up to eighth place in state labor-force participation, from 12th in 2011. ...
Ah, so the economy of the state relies exclusively on what government can take from its citizens. Sounds like liberal logic.
What are you talking about?
Well, Governor Walker is set to announce on the 13th, right?
That makes it time for the media haters to start flaming and lying about him.
Fake but accurate.
Democrats prefer the Obama way. 18 trillion dollars in debt and climbing.
The states gross domestic product grew 1.4 percent in 2014 to $288 billion, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Upper Midwest is close to full-employment status and also has very slow population and labor force growth, said Mark Vitner, a Wells Fargo & Co. economist who tracks the regional economy. This makes it harder to grow all that rapidly......
Some sectors of the financial services industry banks, specifically have struggled because of low interest rates. The industry, a crucial part of Minnesotas economy, contracted by 1.3 percent in 2014, according to the new figures from the Commerce Department.
The weakness in real estate, rental and leasing a nearly 2 percent decline is more difficult to explain, given the strength in Minnesota home sales and falling apartment vacancy rates, Vitner, of Wells Fargo, said. He believes that figure will be revised upward, as will the overall growth of the states economy.
Minnesotas economy sure feels like it grew faster than 1.4 percent, Vitner said. I do believe that growth is understated, however, and would expect this years 1.4 percent preliminary state real GDP number to be revised up to somewhere closer to 2 percent.....
July 10, 2015 - Daily Beast: Scott Walker Gets Schooled by His Neighbor "Wisconsin and Minnesota share a common cultural heritage that until recently included a healthy Midwestern strain of progressive politics. Elected in 2010, Governor Scott Walker upended a hundred years of liberal populism, charting a conservative path for Wisconsin that made him a darling of the Republican Right, but left his state with a serious budget shortfall and disappointing job growth.
Meanwhile, across the border in neighboring Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton has relentlessly pursued liberal policies, embodying the tax-and-spend Democrat that Republicans love to caricature. ......"
But what they’re saying isn’t true.
I don’t know which side you’re supporting.
Here are some of those “millionaires and corporations.”
I’m on the side of letting people keep their own money instead of government deciding what “income equality” is. For every 1% that government raises taxes on corporations, the GDP goes down 3%. And the cost just gets passed onto everyone else.
the liberal mind - distort the facts, claim something that is no even truthful and continue the falsehood until it is believed to be the truth. Liberal - an oxymoron in of itself.
This is just BS.
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Dead broke is better than billions in the red. California would love to be dead broke but they are far far more underwater than that.
Walker says Wisconsins pension system is the only one in the country thats fully funded
Remember, this is something the demodummies said........
Just another LIE!
Yeah, isn't that called "a balanced budget"...or some weird thing like that?
Wow, we must be in better shape than I thought!!
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