Tag Archives: Scott Walker

Walker Issues Budget Vetoes

You can read the full list of vetoes here.

I’m still reading through them, but they look good! It looks like he stuck to his promise to the conservative senators who held out and he took a few further steps to make this budget a little better.

Walker Signs Foxconn Deal

Excellent.

STURTEVANT — Gov. Scott Walker signed a $3 billion incentive package Monday for Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen plant in southeastern Wisconsin, a deal he says will provide thousands of jobs for generations.

The governor signed the bill during a packed ceremony at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant in Racine County, where the plant likely will be located. Legislators from around southeastern Wisconsin attended the signing. So did dozens of supporters.

“This is about far into the future,” Walker said. “This is about ensuring our children and our children’s children will have generational opportunities. This is one of those things that’s transformational.”

The governor told reporters after the signing that next steps call for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to finalize a contract with Foxconn to execute the provisions in the bill. WEDC’s board is scheduled to meet Sept. 28 to approve the agreement. Foxconn executives will then likely reveal the precise location for the plant before the contract is signed in early October.

Walker told WTMJ-AM radio on Monday morning that he expects groundbreaking this spring. Foxconn hopes to open the plant in 2020.

Democrats Opposing Manufacturing Jobs in Wisconsin

If I were Governor Walker, I’d say, “bring it.”

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has called it a game-changer for Wisconsin, but all of the Democrats challenging him in the 2018 governor’s race are against the deal in which Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn would build a massive plant and receive cash payments from the state.

Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who initially supported the jobs deal, is now against it. He and state schools Superintendent Tony Evers said they would try to renegotiate the agreement if elected governor. A third candidate has launched a petition asking the Wisconsin Senate to reject the $3 billion incentives package.

This is a very risky gamble for the Democrats. If the Foxconn deal falls apart and Wisconsin is our millions or billions of dollars, they they can say “I told you so.” But if it is a massive success and tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are getting jobs and the economy is booming, then they have completely kneecapped themselves. Even if it does fail, Walker can say that he was trying to bring jobs to Wisconsin while Democrats whined.

In any case, we likely won’t know the full results of this deal before the election next year. Democrats are going to run on a campaign of rooting for Wisconsin to fail.

Walker Signs REINS Act

Great!

WAUSAU – Governor Scott Walker today signed the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act into law at the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce. The bill makes various changes regarding administrative rules and rule-making procedures.

“One of our top priorities for Wisconsin is ensuring government services are effective, efficient, accountable, and operate at good-value for the citizens of our state,” Governor Walker said. “This bill allows for more input from citizens and stakeholders before a new rule is drafted, ensures expensive or burdensome rules are subject to legislative scrutiny and approval, and creates additional oversight over state agencies. I thank Senator Devin LeMahieu and Representative Adam Neylon for taking the lead on this protaxpayer reform. ”

Senate Bill 15 – makes several changes to the administrative rulemaking process, specifically the preparation of scope statements, economic impact analysis, approval of rules, promulgation of emergency rules, and certain hearings on proposed rules. The bill requires the Department of Administration to complete an initial review of proposed scope statements from agencies and determine if an agency has the explicit authority to promulgate the rule, prior to submitting the scope statements to the Governor for approval. Authored by Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Representative Adam Neylon (RPewaukee), the bill passed the Senate with a vote of 19-14 and was concurred by the Assembly with a vote of 62-34. It is Act 57.

Tribune Diagnoses the Wisconsin Way

Even those folks to our south recognize it.

The final reason Foxconn picked Wisconsin over Illinois is the difference-maker: government cooperation and competence. The Journal Sentinel wrote that Gou believed “the responsiveness of the public and private partners in Wisconsin far exceeded those of other states.” Gou singled out the cooperation of Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and local business groups: “These key people pushed very hard.”

Here’s the takeaway: Foxconn chose the state that has stable government, healthy finances and pro-growth policies for employers. Illinois has none of the above.

Wisconn Valley is open for business

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go.

It is almost impossible to overstate how important the recently announced Foxconn deal is for Wisconsin. Economically, culturally, and politically, it is the biggest deal for Wisconsin in a generation.

The economics of the deal are astounding. Foxconn is a Taiwanese company that manufactures thousands of products all over the world. Its revenues exceed $136 billion per year and it employs well more than a million people all over the globe. The plant planned for Wisconsin to build advanced screens will be huge, but it will not even be Foxconn’s largest.

At 20 million square feet, the planned Foxconn facility in Wisconsin will be one of the largest in the world. It is estimated that Foxconn will spend $10 billion to build and equip the new facility and they have committed that $5.7 billion of that will be spent in Wisconsin. The construction alone will support 10,000 construction jobs for four years and 6,000 additional indirect jobs.

That’s just to build it. The ongoing economic impact is even more massive.

Foxconn estimates that the facility will eventually directly employ 13,000 people and indirectly employ an additional 22,000 people at an average wage of $53,875 plus benefits per year. They plan to spend $4.26 billion per year to supply the facility with about a third of those purchases happening in Wisconsin. All told, the facility is estimated to have at least a $7 billion annual impact on Wisconsin and generate an estimated $181 million in annual tax revenues. All of these estimates were done by Ernst & Young.

Economically, this single facility will have a generational impact on Wisconsin on the scale of some of the other major manufacturers of Wisconsin’s storied past. Culturally, it will have a similar impact.

Wisconsin has a proud legacy in making things. Manufacturing has been a pillar of the state’s economy for over a century. Due to many trends outside of the state’s control like automation, globalization, trade policies, etc., the state’s manufacturing sector has been eroding for years. Since 2006, Wisconsin shed 45,598 manufacturing jobs as other sectors grew. The state boasts some terrific manufacturing businesses, but as a sector, it has been in decline in the state.

The drain of manufacturing out of the state has not only drained jobs, it has drained neighborhoods, towns, and communities of their vitality. The Foxconn plant plugs that drain and pumps new manufacturing jobs, money, and investment into the state. It is also almost certainly the beginning of a flow of companies investing in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has made its mark again as a global center for high-tech manufacturing. Other companies will undoubtedly follow Foxconn’s lead.

The political impact of Foxconn is also substantial. There is no dispute that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican leaders deserve a tremendous amount of credit for brokering the deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin. As the legislature goes into a special session this week to finalize and pass the incentive package, it appears that the state is getting a bargain. In a perfect world, taxpayers would not have to compete to lure businesses with tax incentives and corporate welfare, but that is not the world we live in.

Taxpayers are offering Foxconn about $3 billion in mostly income tax credits over 15 years and a $150 million sales tax exemption. Bearing in mind that this is mostly exemption from taxes that would not have been collected anyway without Foxconn locating in Wisconsin, it is a good deal and the taxpayers will reap a substantial return on their investment. Furthermore, the credits are tied to Foxconn’s actual performance in creating jobs and making capital investments in Wisconsin. If Foxconn fails to live up to its commitments, the taxpayers are not obligated to extend the incentives.

It must be acknowledged, however, that the Foxconn deal would not be happening had it not been for Walker and the Republican transformation in Wisconsin over the last seven years. Decisions like Foxconn’s consider hundreds of factors that are outside of the realm of politics. Conservatives often remind that government do not create jobs, but they create an environment in which business can flourish and create jobs. Walker and the Republicans have created just such an environment. Things like a balanced budget, regulatory reform and right to work combine with a general business friendly attitude to create an environment in which businesses can succeed. The Foxconn decision is not just the result of an agreement on an incentive package. It is the culmination of years of decisions making Wisconsin a better place to do business.

The Foxconn deal may have guaranteed Walker’s third term, should he choose to run for reelection, but more importantly, it has affirmed the correctness and importance of the conservative policies he has advanced. Now we must continue and accelerate those policies to capitalize on the momentum.

Foxconn Coming to Wisconsin

It is difficult to overstate how big this is for Wisconsin.

Taiwanese manufacturing company Foxconn will build its first U.S. factory in Wisconsin, where it expects to employ between 3,000 and 13,000 people, officials announced on Wednesday.

The $10 billion facility would initially employ 3,000 people and could expand over time to create as many as 13,000 jobs, according to a senior White House official. The jobs will pay an average salary of $53,875, plus benefits, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The project is the “single largest economic development project in the history of the state of Wisconsin,” said Gov. Scott Walker, who made the announcement on Wednesday at the White House with Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou.

Foxconn is best known for manufacturing Apple iPhones. The Wisconsin facility will produce liquid-crystal display, or LCD panels.

Yes, there are going to be some growing pains and I’m sure that the Democrats will be sure to pee all over Wisconsin’s economic flame, but this is a historic economic boon for Wisconsin. Here are a few projections from the WEDC summary:

In addition to the 13,000 jobs directly created by Foxconn, the project is expected to create at least 22,000 indirect and induced jobs throughout the state.

Foxconn is to make $4.26 billion in supplier purchases annually, about one-third of which will be sourced within Wisconsin.

The project is expected to have at least a $7 billion annual economic impact on the state.

The project will generate an estimated $181 million in state and local tax revenues annually, including $60 million in local property taxes.

Budget Deal?

Perhaps.

Gov. Scott Walker offered a change to his budget plan this week to Republican leaders feuding over how to pay for road projects in an effort to break a 20-day impasse, but it’s unclear if it’s enough to get both houses back to the negotiating table.

“There’s no deal yet. That’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Thursday after he relayed to his members the governor’s offer to use $200 million slated for tax cuts for road projects instead, drawing down bonding levels.

But Walker’s offer did win support from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Assembly Republicans, who in letters to Walker and Senate Republicans on Thursday said they accepted the governor’s proposal and want to resume work on the 2017-19 state budget as early as next week.

[…]

Walker’s offer eliminates a $203 million tax cut that would instead be used to reduce or completely wipe out all new transportation bonding in the 2017-19 state budget, the governor told reporters.

Walker Proposes Transportation Compromise

This looks like a very viable plan.

First, we propose reducing transportation fund supported bonding by $200 million in this budget by using an improved transportation fund balance, project cost savings, and other administrative actions. We believe this can be accomplished while continuing to keep projects on schedule.

[…]

Second, approve contingency bonding for the Southeast Freeway Megaproject program.

[…]

Third, pass a strong and safe transportation budget without a gas tax or vehicle fee increase.

Walker Open to Tolling

Heh.

Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he’d consider highway tolls in Wisconsin if they’re collected from motorists entering the state, particularly from Illinois.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said separately that a highway tolling plan could be a key part of a broader deal for the state’s next transportation budget — a key area of disagreement among Republican Senate and Assembly lawmakers as they craft a 2017-19 state budget.

That disagreement, combined with divisions on how to address taxes and education spending, has put the two houses at loggerheads and stalled budget talks.

Here’s the thing… I’m not ideologically opposed to tolling. The technology is such that it isn’t a hassle and the notion of the expense of roads being paid for mostly by the people actively using them is fine in concept. The problem is that this doesn’t fix the problem of too much transportation spending. In fact, opening up another revenue source just aggravates the spending problem. If the legislature wants to change the funding system to more heavily shift the burden to tolls and fees, I’m fine with that, but only if the overall spending and taxes stays flat or, preferably, decreases. Otherwise, tolls are just another way to get more money out of Wisconsinites to overspend on transportation.

“Very Frustrating to be an Anarchist in America”

It has been five years sine Governor Walker won his recall election. Let’s celebrate by remembering this gem of an interview with Walker Recall supporter and avowed Anarchist, Thistle Pettersen.

Release of the Walker Trilogy

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:

In perhaps the most anticipated, but least surprising, announcement in Wisconsin politics, Gov. Scott Walker told fellow Republicans at the state Republican convention in Wisconsin Dells he is ready to serve a third term as governor.

Although he has said that, he will withhold an official announcement until after the budget is passed, there is little doubt that Walker will ask the voters to elect him as their governor for the fourth time.

One could not help but contrast Walker’s 2017 Wisconsin GOP convention speech to the one he made to the same audience last year. By the time the Wisconsin Republicans convened in 2016, Walker’s presidential campaign had been dead for nearly eight months, but Walker was clearly in no mood to talk about the presidential campaign or his future. In a speech that did not mention the Republican presidential nominee once, Walker focused on getting Republicans to focus on re-electing Sen. Ron Johnson.

The focus and mood were very different this year. Walker delivered a rousing highlight reel of his record as governor and enjoined the Republican stalwarts in the audience to rally to his campaign. Judging from the reaction of the crowd, Walker will have no problem turning out his base of supporters again. And while many conservatives became frustrated with Walker when he uncharacteristically flirted with nonconservative positions during his run for president, his record in less than seven years as governor is truly unmatched in advancing conservative principles and issues. Of course, Walker had the support of a Republican Legislature for much of his tenure, but those Republicans have been increasingly conservative thanks in large part to Walker’s leadership.

Most people place Act 10 at the top of the list of Walker’s achievements. Act 10 was a reorientation of the government paradigm that continues to pay dividends to Wisconsin’s citizens. It deserves to sit atop the list, but that list, taken in its totality, dwarfs Act 10.

Since Walker assumed office, Wisconsin has passed concealed carry legislation, required voters to present a picture identification, made Wisconsin a right-to-work state, expanded school choice,

frozen tuition at Wisconsin’s public universities and much, much more. Walker and the Republican Legislature also funded the state’s rainy day fund, cut billions of dollars in taxes and turned Wisconsin into a state that repeatedly runs surpluses instead of the perpetual deficits we saw under Gov. Jim Doyle.

The results speak for themselves. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since President Bill Clinton was in the White House. At the same time, Wisconsin has one of the highest percentage of people in the workforce. And the average annual wage for private sector workers is up more than 11 percent since Walker was elected. Wisconsin is working.

It is small wonder why Walker would want to run for a third term. Most governors would be proud to run on one or two of Walker’s achievements. No governor in America can run on such a chockfull record of success.

The Democrats appear to agree. Walker’s impressive record and bursting campaign coffers has already scared away most serious contenders. The Democrats are scraping the edges of their party and the private sector for anyone willing to charge the Walker windmill and finding few takers. The Democrats will eventually find someone to run and will attempt to sell them to the voters as the second coming of FDR, but Walker will be exceptionally formidable even in a year when national trends point to Democratic wins.

The next gubernatorial election is still 18 months away, but it is difficult to envision Walker not sticking around as governor well into the next decade.

Walker To Run Again

The biggest non-secret in Wisconsin politics is out.

Gov. Scott Walker plans to tell Republicans at their annual convention Saturday that he is “ready” for four more years, eliminating any question about whether the governor would seek a third term.

“I’m ready. I’m ready to help lead Wisconsin forward for four more years. But I need your help,” Walker plans to tell Republicans, according to excerpts of his speech provided to the Wisconsin State Journal by his campaign.

Walker has repeatedly signaled he would seek a third term but has said he will not formally announce his decision until after the 2017-19 state budget process is complete later this summer.

“We won in 2010 with a grassroots army of volunteers. We won with an even bigger force during the recall election in 2012. And we won with another grassroots flurry in 2014,” Walker plans to say. “Now, we need your help again.”

 

Walker Walks Fine Line on School Referendum

This looks like something of a semantic argument.

BLANCHARDVILLE (WKOW) — Gov. Scott Walker told 27 News Thursday he does not want to penalize school districts that increase operating revenues through referendum votes, putting him at odds with some Republican lawmakers who put forth that proposal last month.

Walker made those comments after speaking to students at Pecatonica High School.

[…]

“The question might be whether or not the aidable assistance goes up. realistically, if there was anything, that would be more of the adjustment, it wouldn’t be taking money away,” said Gov. Walker. “It would just a be a question of whether you’d be giving more to those districts who choose to do that, because one of the other complaints I hear from school districts is, if they choose not to do that, they feel like they’re penalized if they operate within their budgets and somebody else goes beyond that. But I certainly wouldn’t penalize it.”

As I read that comment, Walker does not want to “penalize” school districts that pas an operating referendum, but he is okay with an “adjustment.” Walker is saying that if a school district wants to increase their taxes and spending through a referendum, that’s fine, but state taxpayers won’t be kicking in anything extra.

Another Democrats Declines to Challenge Walker

Wow.

MADISON – For the third time this week, a potential challenger to GOP Gov. Scott Walker has ruled out a 2018 run against him.

This time it’s Madison tech executive Mark Bakken, who had been getting attention from Democrats because of his success founding an IT consulting company and because he could have brought formidable financial resources into a race.

In phone calls to close associates Friday, Bakken ruled out a run and said he would focus instead on his business ventures, according to sources who spoke directly with Bakken. The decision increases the chances that trial attorney and state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) could announce a run against Walker, since Wachs is a friend of Bakken’s and would have been unlikely to run against the executive.

What’s interesting is that, on paper, Walker is extremely vulnerable next year. His approval rating is below 50%. Historic trends says that next year should be a big Democratic year. If the Wisconsin Democrats can field a decent candidate, he or she should stand a pretty good chance. And yet, nobody of any prominence is stepping forward for the Democrats. In fact, many of them are pulling their names off of the list early.

I suspect hat two things are at play. First, the Wisconsin Democratic Party is devoid of any top tier talent. The last six years have decimated their bench. Second, Walker isn’t as vulnerable as he appears. He has never polled very high, but his strength lies in his ability to turn out nearly universal and massive turnout of the Republican base. While many conservatives in the base were frustrated with him when he ran for president and went wobbly, he appears to have returned to the fold. The Democrats know this too and no prominent Democrats wants to be the next Burke or Barrett and have their political careers run aground on the shoals of Isla Walker.

The Democrats have to run someone… theoretically. Who will it be?

It’s About the Spending

My column for the Daily News is online. Here you go:

Gov. Scott Walker has taken the first step in Wisconsin’s biennial budget process by introducing his executive budget. Walker calls it a “reform dividend” budget that is able to boost spending thanks to the reforms enacted in earlier budgets. There is a lot to like about Walker’s budget, but it suffers from a fundamental flaw: it spends way too much.

The governor’s executive budget is the first step in what will be a lengthy legislative process before Wisconsin gets to a final budget. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will begin working through the governor’s budget to add and remove their own priorities. The budget that comes out of the JFC will then be debated and passed by both houses of the legislature; the versions that pass each legislative house will be reconciled and sent to the governor; the governor will issue vetoes; the legislature will consider overriding vetoes; and then we will have a final budget. There is a long way to go.

Despite the fact that the governor and both houses of the Legislature hail from the same political party, there are some sharp differences of opinion regarding Wisconsin’s budget priorities. There have already been fierce intraparty clashes over transportation funding, debt load, potential tax increases, and other issues. The final budget will look substantially different than the governor’s budget proposal, but Walker has begun the conversation by making his priorities clear.

Signaling that Walker intends to run for reelection next year, his budget includes a lot of tax cuts and spending increases targeted at various interest groups. Most of the nearly $600 million in tax cuts comes from changes to the income tax and eliminating a portion of the state property tax, but the budget also includes several smaller targeted tax cuts.

The governor’s budget increases spending in a number of areas including an additional $649 million for K-12 schools and $105.2 million more for the University of Wisconsin System. There are also spending increases for tech schools, welfare, work force development, prisons, historical society, health services, transportation, the building commission, shared revenue and more.

Walker’s budget also includes some terrific reforms and accountability measures. The budget finally eliminates prevailing wage statewide, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars on needed work. It contains reforms to welfare and work force development designed to help people break the cycle of poverty and become successful in the work force. Under this budget, Wisconsin will self-insure its employees for health coverage. This is something that many large companies already do and will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In what is garnering the most pushback, Walker’s budget increases spending for K-12 education and the University of Wisconsin, but does so with some added accountability. K-12 schools that have not already taken advantage of the tools given them in Act 10 to make reforms may not be eligible for the increased state funding. Much of the increased spending on UW will only come after UW makes reforms like offering a 3-year degree option.

But for all of the good it contains, one cannot escape the fact that Walker’s budget still spends too much. Indeed, despite the myth of “cuts” and “austerity” perpetuated by both political parties, Wisconsin has increased spending in every budget Walker has signed. This is despite the fact that Wisconsinites’ ability to pay has still not recovered from the Great Recession.

Let us look at the numbers. Gov. Jim Doyle’s last biennial budget for 2009-11 spent $61.9 billion. The first Walker budget spent $64.1 billion. Since then, Wisconsin’s biennial budgets have increased spending every time to $68 billion to $72.6 billion and now $76.1 billion. The budget that Walker just proposed spends a full 23 percent more than Gov. Doyle’s final budget. “Austerity,” my foot.

Meanwhile, over the same time period, Wisconsinites’ income has struggled. In 2008, the year before Gov. Doyle passed his last budget, the real median household income in Wisconsin was $57,348. It took a beating in 2009 after the Great Recession and dropped to $55,227. Since then, real median household income has dropped more before finally inching up last year. It still has not recovered to the 2008 level. The real median household income since 2009 has moved to $53,269, $53,110, $52,709, $52,370, $52,683, and finally in 2015, to $55,638. As you can see, the median Wisconsin household is earning $1,710 less per year since 2008, but being asked to pay for a state budget that spends 23 percent more.

If Wisconsin’s state spending largesse cannot be justified by an increase in Wisconsinites’ ability to pay, then perhaps the increased spending is being offset by an increase in population and new taxpayers? No. Since 2010, Wisconsin’s population has only increased 1.6 percent. And according to IRS migration data, the aggregate adjusted gross income for people leaving Wisconsin is greater than those coming in. Essentially, Wisconsin is losing higher-earners and retirees to low-tax states and replacing them with lower earners.

Gov. Walker and the Republicans deserve tremendous credit for the immensely beneficial and consequential budgetary reforms they have enacted and for managing the state’s finances in a responsible manner. Long gone are the Doyle budgets of massive deficits and illegal fund raids thanks to mature management of the state’s finances.

But Wisconsin remains a tax hell precisely because it remains a spending hell. For all of the good that Walker and the Republicans have done, they have not addressed this fundamental problem and it drags down everything from economic growth to work force availability to the everyday lives of Wisconsinites just trying to keep enough of their money to build a better life for themselves.

Walker Introduces Budget Proposal

Eh.

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday called for nearly $600 million in reduced taxes and fees along with significant new spending in areas where he made sizable cuts in the past as part of his $76.1 billion two-year budget proposal.

Total spending under the plan would grow by nearly $2 billion, or 4.2 percent over the previous two-year budget. Taxpayer-supported spending would increase nearly $600 million. The total number of state employees, who would receive two 2 percent raises and have their health care managed and paid for by the state, would increase by about 262 positions, including about 20 taxpayer-supported positions.

The budget includes several changes to state government, including proposals to self-insure all employees, centralize more agency administrative functions under the Department of Administration and eliminate printing and mailing requirements in several areas.

There’s a lot to unwrap in this proposal. There’s some good stuff in it, but my overall reaction is that it is a budget that still spends too much. Wisconsin is a high tax state because it spends too dang much. Not a single one of the budgets under Walker actually cut spending. They held back on the rate of growth, but every budget spent more than the last. Now this budget is increasing spending even more and “paying” for it with hopeful economic projections.

When does Walker actually cut spending and justify the hatred of his opponents? I’d like to actually see a real cut, but I fear that the only way I will ever live in a state that actually controls spending will be to move to one that does. It isn’t in the Wisconsin DNA.

Walker to Propose Increase for UW

Here’re some of the details.

*ending the $50 million lapse the system was required to make in the 2015-17 budget.
*giving the system $42.5 million in performance-based funding.
*providing an $11.6 million block grant so the system could boost pay for employees.
*providing grants of $700,000 in financial aid to students taking flex option courses, $200,000 to expand a program that provides financial support to expand the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance program, and $100,000 to support Alzheimer’s research.

So it appears that Walker has decided that he wants to run for reelection in 2018. As part of his effort to bolster his sagging approval rating, he wants to dump an enormous amount of taxpayer money into government institutions. By my count, we’re already pushing over a billion dollars in new spending without an offset anywhere in sight.

Walker Proposes Massive Increase in Education Spending

Here’s a list of specifics:

The governor’s budget would provide over the two years:

  • $509 million for broad public school aid that districts could spend on teaching: a $200 per pupil increase for the 2017-’18 school year and an additional $204 increase in the 2018-’19 school year. This increase wouldn’t go through the state’s general aid formula, flowing instead through a special aid category with its own formula and the possibility that it could benefit suburban schools more than urban ones.
  • A similar increase in money per student for taxpayer-funded private voucher schools to meet a requirement previously approved by Walker and lawmakers.
  • $11.5 billion in total state spending on education, a new high before accounting for inflation, and enough to cover 64.6% of the cost of K-12 schools statewide. That would be below the state’s onetime target of paying for two-thirds of the cost of schools but is the best level since 2009, when the state hit 65.8% under then Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.
  • Total state school aid per public school increases — both general and special categories — to $6,588 in 2017-’18 and $6,902 in 2018-’19, a 3% bump in the first year and a 4.5% increase in the second from the current level of $6,376.
  • $5.6 million in the 2018-’19 academic year for low-performing schools in Milwaukee to encourage improvements. Public, charter and taxpayer-funded private voucher schools could all compete for that money in the city, where 42 public schools didn’t meet expectations in the most recent report card.
  • $2.8 million toward Milwaukee Public Schools’ summer school program.
  • A range of funding for students with mental illness, including $2.5 million to connect students with mental health services; $500,000 more for students in Milwaukee through a different program; $3 million for school social workers in public and charter schools that are independent of public districts; and $1 million to train school workers on mental health screening.
  • $7.6 million to help school districts connect disabled students with jobs.
  • $300,000 for an online-based anti-bullying program being developed by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Department of Public Instruction.

As we have definitively determined, more money does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. I’d like to see what specific outcomes these expenditures are designed to improve.

Walker Sends Off National Guard in West Bend

Via Washington County Insider.