DAILY WISCONSIN

Government Spending

And More 

This requires some context. A couple of years ago, Northwestern Mutual offered the county $14.4 million in cash. In that offer, NML would take over the property, revitalize it, and create green space. But the liberals on the board abhorred the thought of selling county property to a private interest, so they rejected the offer.

Now the county is GIVING the property to another private interest and that interest will take over maintenance, which NML would have done too. And the county is trying to spin this as a deal for taxpayers. So instead of the county getting $14.4 million in cash and absolving the taxpayers of future obligations, the taxpayers are getting nothing.

Via Milwaukee County Screws Taxpayers Again @ Boots & Sabers.

More

The district wants $32.7 million NOW to spend on a laundry list of items and a tax increase FOREVER to spend on whatever they can think of. Both of these referenda are ridiculous, but the one to permanently increase taxes above the state limit is downright offensive. But as West Bend begins the search for a new superintendent, it’s worth taking note of what’s going on in Menomonee Falls.

Via Consistent Performance in Menomonee Falls @ Boots & Sabers.

$8,726,436

The University of Wisconsin-Madison last semester doled out $726,436 in raises and $8 million in research support to retain 40 faculty members who brought outside job offers to the central administration, according to information obtained by the Journal Sentinel through an open records request.

The $8.72 million went to individuals who got job offers between July 1 and Dec. 31, and agreed within that time frame to stay at UW-Madison. Other retention efforts within schools and colleges during that time were not included in those numbers.

The university did not receive new funding to support faculty salary increases, and in fact, the rest of the faculty got the same 1% raises as other state employees.

The raises to 38 of the 40 individuals retained by the central administration ranged from 4.34% to 49.68%. Some of the $726,436 was associated with promotions.

Via UW-Madison spends nearly $9 million to retain faculty stars @ JSOnline.

Business Leeches Dislike Private Initiative 

You see, in Janesville, extremely wealthy individuals and politically connected pals including large corporations with hundreds of millions in cash on hand focus more on getting substantial capital hand-outs and other free stuff, usually by way of lucrative TIF deals, from local taxpayers before they commit to Janesville. It’s the first commandment from their economic development bible here. Thou shalt not invest in Janesville or create jobs before capturing some free TIF surplus capital, free land or other free stuff. Their second commandment is a warning for local taxpayers: Thou shalt not believe in false hope that growth will come without providing “incentives.” You get the idea.

Via Rock Netroots: In Janesville, Potential From Developer Attracts The Moocher Club.

Choices

Here’s the irony. Last year, now Gov. Scott Walker pushed through a $400 million taxpayer subsidy for a new arena for the billionaire hedge fund operators who own the Milwaukee Bucks. While County Executive Walker didn’t lift a finger to repair the Domes, he fought hard to help a professional sports team pay for their new digs.

And here’s an even bigger irony. As part of that deal, Milwaukee County agreed to be on the hook for $4 million a year. And how much borrowing would $4 million a year support with interest for 20 years? Well, just about $60 million or so.

Via The Domes vs. the Bucks arena @ Isthmus.

Why?

When you pile up all the evidence showing state officials and the Walker administration had known for years of the horrors going on at Lincoln Hills, you have to ask why wasn’t something done about this? One possibility is they simply didn’t care. But a more likely explanation is they did not want to devote more resources to the problem.

Via Murphy’s Law: Why Walker Allowed Lincoln Hills Abuses @ Urban Milwaukee

From $384 million to $0?

Tomorrow’s [2.3.16] Assembly Ways and Means Committee meeting had an interesting last-minute addition to it, and it involves a huge business tax giveaway that you may have thought was dead.

You may remember me referencing this “economic substance” bill when they tried to jam it through a public hearing last month. At the time, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue estimated that it would cost the state up to $384 million a year, which is certainly not anything that can be done when there’s only $64 million of breathing room in the budget over the next 17 months. The bill seemed to be put underground after that.

Well, it’s BAAAACK!

Via Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse: $384 million tax cut now “clarified” to $0?

Road Borrowing

“November 2, 2015 For immediate release:Unfunded Road Construction ….There is no plan in place to pay the money back, so just like Washington D.C politicians, some in Madison think that putting this debt on future taxpayers is the route to go. Currently, the vast majority of road construction is paid through vehicle related fees and…

Tommy Thompson blasts WEDC way of business

Republican Tommy Thompson, who served for fourteen years as governor, has written in opposition to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s loan program. It’s the right position to take, and shows that Thompson understands the problems with WEDC. Explicitly, Gov. Thompson’s opposition to WEDC-style loans includes local communities’ doling of loans through their own programs. (Whitewater’s Community Development Authority has been one of several cities Capital Catalyst communities making a practice of this, and seeking more money to keep doing so.)

Via Gov. Thompson Rejects WEDC-Style Loans @ FREE WHITEWATER.

About that surplus…

Here are the actual General Fund figures that were in the report released today.

Starting 2014-15 Balance $516.9 million
Revenues + Adjustments $15,213.5 million
Expenses + Adjustments $15,594.8 million
Ending 2014-15 Balance $135.6 million
2014-15 change in balances -$381.3 million

In other words, that’s not a surplus in the last fiscal year, that’s a deficit. Yes, the ending cash balance of $135.6 million is much better than the $254,000 that was projected in the Governor’s Budget last Spring, but let’s not go celebrating the fact that for the second straight year, Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP put together a budget that overspent its revenues (the 2013-14 deficit was $242.3 million). Now there is very little cushion left in case there’s another shortfall in this fiscal year, in a time when the economy may be slowing down.

Via That’s not a surplus in Wisconsin. And other budget BS @ Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse.

Thursday

Thursday features the release of Wisconsin’s Annual Fiscal Report. This is the report that goes over all of the finances and fund for state government, and covers the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2014- June 30, 2015 (click here to look at the 2014 document). It’ll go a long way toward determining the state of the Walker/WisGOP budget, and if there might be a bit of flexibility available to soothe the blows from this budget…or if the inevitable additional cuts and tax increases will have to come sooner than later.

Via A preview of Thursday’s hue year-end budget report @ Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse.

Livin’ Large

Ah yes, the old Friday afternoon news dump, as Gov Walker tries to make people forget about the arrogance and waste that was a big part of his joke of a presidential run:

A pair of international trade missions headed by Gov. Scott Walker this year cost taxpayers nearly $150,000, and Walker’s political groups are reimbursing the state $125,000 for separate costs for his security team’s travel while he pursued the presidency.

Via UPDATED Friday news dump- the expense of Walker’s vanity @ Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse.

Road to Nowhere

“Anyone else sensing this transportation issue is really hampering the Republicans? How else do you explain Gov Walker and the rest of the GOP crew at the Capitol constantly trying to talk their way out of the mess they caused with their “split the baby” solution in the state budget, which had the remarkable double-whammy…

Wanting more for doing less

Given the smaller number of juveniles being arrested and the increased funding to counties, the amount of money that counties receive per juvenile arrest has increased 47 percent since 2009.

The counties argue that they deserve more state aid to deal with this change, but the data does not support their argument. Despite a precipitous drop in juvenile arrests, youth aid funding from the state has actually increased in recent years.

Via Fact Check: Wisconsin Counties Association Memo on Criminal Justice Reform @ MacIver Institute.