Tony and the Dems scramble to take credit for $4.4 billion dollar surplus

Jay Weber Show transcript 6-9-21 8:10am

I got a kick out of how Governor Evers and the Democrats scrambled to take credit for a 4.4-billion dollar, unexpected, budget surplus.

This is a governor-and a group of leaders- who just spent their state convention insisting that Republican lawmakers in Madison wouldn’t let them do anything.

It was Republicans who kept them from passing the budgets they wanted to pass and doing the things they wanted to do.

But now- a huge surplus, thanks to another Republican-crafted budget, is Tony Evers’ doing?

Come on, people.

I know they’re just playing the game, but they must think you’re stupid enough to believe it.

This windfall is wonderful news, in light of covid-19’s effect on the overall economy, and the fact that Gov. Evers and some of Wisconsin’s Dem officials insisted on business closure orders and restrictions.

It’s a situation, again, in which we need to point out that-if Gov. Evers had gotten his way- statewide limits and closures on Wisconsin businesses would have remained in effect for an entire year...and we in Wisconsin would have an 8 percent unemployment rate like the blue states do...and we never would have seen the sort of economic activity that has led to this budget surplus:

This is such a large and unexpected windfall, that the Madison newspapers even admitted that both sides could do some things they wanted to do, if they can just agree to negotiate

And, of course, tax relief should be the main priority: when a government that is taking and spending 40-billion dollars a year from their taxpayers to fund government...and takes in far more than they need-

Yes- the reflexive action should be -returning that money to the taxpayers who overpaid.

It should-not be-spend even more money, as Evers and Democrats want to do.

I’d remind you that Evers already has control over 3.3 billion dollars in federal covid-19 related money that he can use to pay for every new whim he has. He and the democrats don’t need to spend an additional 4.4 billion...just because they have it.

And that’s what the Evers team and happy-ending Hintz were suggesting, yesterday: oooo...even more money to spend, now.

Tony Evers and WI Dems-leap- to spend it.

I swear, democrats are like a wife who considers any ‘found money’ to be ‘fun money’.

Let’s never use it to pay our debts, or put it into savings, or pay off the credit cards. No, no, this is ‘fun’ money- we need to spend it on frivolous crap.

That’s how Wisconsin Democrats-always-react to budget surpluses or unexpected federal money.

Folks, we, as a state, have enough debt that we could put a big chunk of this money toward paying off the states’ outstanding loans, and it would be a wiser use of what Evers is talking about.

Because the truth is-we do not, dammit, need even more money for schools.

The truth is- even our republican, allegedly fiscally conservative lawmakers, have gone on a significant spending jag- on schools- since being in control of this budget.

I’ve tried to explain- for years now-how overly generous walker-era republicans have been with k-12 schools since act ten...

And I’ve insisted: our schools-are not- underfunded. No matter what Tony Evers or the teachers union say.

This is a -fake- issue. As the republicans on joint finance build this next budget...they just set aside $15.3 billion over the next two years for k-12 spending. That’s after a 9% increase in k-12 spending they added to this current budget, we are using now.

Folks, in Tony Evers’ first budget, he got a 1.2-billion dollar increase in k-12 spending.We are spending more than ever-both in terms of real dollars and per-student- on k-12 education.

It is not underfunded.

And according to the legislative fiscal bureau, school districts across the state are set to receive about $2.6 billion in federal stimulus money, too.

This is from the covid-19 relief packages.

These districts will -honestly-have more money flooding in than they know what to do with-short term here.

And already? With a bigger surplus projection? Evers rushes to insist on even more?

The best kept secret in Wisconsin government is that Republicans-have not been stingy on school spending.

Conservative blogger Owen Robinson does a column for the west bend daily news-and exposes the simple truth in a column this weekend: that our current batch of ‘so-called’ fiscal conservatives....have gone wild on the school spending ever since act ten.

Owen writes:

Every budget season we hear the same ridiculous rhetoric about how republicans are cutting education and hurting kids despite unending budget increases. The Wisconsin association of school boards went so far as to say that proposed budget “will be devastating” to students. The facts do not support the hysteria.

The proposed spending on K-12 education for the 2022-2023 school year is $1.4 billion more than it was in the 2015-2016 school year, when republicans controlled the legislative and executive branches. That is an increase of 26% over just four budgets.

On a per-pupil basis, the increases are even more stark. For years there has been a steady decline in student enrollment driven by demographic trends. In the 2015-2016 school year there were 867-thousand public school students in Wisconsin. This year, there are 827-thousand. That is a decline of over 40,000 public school students, but taxpayer spending continues to climb. On a per-student basis, state funding of k-12 education has increased by 32% since the 2015-2016 school year.

Throughout that entire period where state taxpayer spending on k-12 education increased by 26% as enrollment was dropping, republicans controlled both houses of the state legislature. For the first two budgets, Wisconsin also had a republican governor. The fact is that republicans have lavished the taxpayers’ money on the government education at every opportunity. Even though democrats always want to spend more, the Republicans have been anything but stingy with education funding.

Robinson also makes this point:

While spending continues to rise with no consideration for the decline in enrollment, what are taxpayers really getting for their largesse? Even before the pandemic, student performance from our government schools was mediocre and had been steadily eroding for years. The curriculum was being infused with left-wing ideology and the building spree was unending.

 But the pandemic really demonstrated how little some of our government schools care for the students and their obligations to the public. Far too many government schools remained closed to in-person education while the education and mental health of children deteriorated.

Even now, some government schools do not plan to fully open until the next school year and then plan to perpetuate fear with useless and outdated mitigation measures.

When parents and communities needed their government schools the most, far too many of them abandoned their duty. For that, both state and federal taxpayers are rewarding them with billions of additional dollars. It is well past time to rethink our support for government institutions that are failing to meet their duty to the public.

I agree. And it’s also time to challenge our republican lawmakers who, yes, have been far better budgeters than democrats would have been over these last ten years-

But also have been in charge as our state budget grew from about 31-billion dollars a now...40-billion dollars a year. In just ten years, our state budget grew by nearly ten -billion dollars?

And Republicans were in control?

And then you look at the school spending since act ten. These alleged fiscal conservatives have apparently been duped into believing the democrat’s rhetoric: our schools are-not- underfunded.

So stop it, already. Stop bowing to more and more requests for state funding.

In fact, if one dollar of this 4.4-billion dollar surplus is put toward more K-12 funding, we seriously need to question whether we really have conservatives in charge of the legislature.

photo credit: Fox 6 News/Milwaukee