Difference between revisions of "Wisconsin state budget"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Text replace - " (Sunshine Review)]]" to "]]")
m
(3 intermediate revisions by 2 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
{{TOCnestright (Sunshine Review)}}
+
{{tnr}}
 
{{budget infobox|
 
{{budget infobox|
 
  state = Wisconsin |
 
  state = Wisconsin |
Line 50: Line 50:
 
'''Mortgage settlement money'''
 
'''Mortgage settlement money'''
  
Gov. Walker and Attorney General [[J.B. Van Hollen|J.B. Van Hollen]] have announced plans to use $25.6 million of the national mortgage settlement money, approximately 18 percent of the funds the sate will receive, to plug holes in the state's budget.<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/national-mortgage-settlement_n_1269560.html?ref=business The Huffington Post "National Mortgage Settlement: Some States Using Mortgage Deal Funds To Close Budget Gaps " Feb. 10, 2012]</ref>
+
Gov. Walker and Attorney General [[J.B. Van Hollen|J.B. Van Hollen]] have announced plans to use $25.6 million of the national mortgage settlement money, approximately 18 percent of the funds the state will receive, to plug holes in the state's budget.<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/national-mortgage-settlement_n_1269560.html?ref=business The Huffington Post "National Mortgage Settlement: Some States Using Mortgage Deal Funds To Close Budget Gaps " Feb. 10, 2012]</ref>
  
 
'''Cuts'''
 
'''Cuts'''
Line 233: Line 233:
 
In Jan. 2012, an issues arose regarding the state's accounting principles.  Under cash basis accounting, which the state uses, the governor announced that the state budget was balanced.  In Jan. 2012, however, state officials certified to federal government officials that under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the state will have a deficit.  Under GAAP, the states promises to pay money in the future are taken into account, whereas they are not in cash basis accounting.  This so-called GAAP deficit goes back years in state government to past governors such as Democrat Jim Doyle who also have said they balanced the budget on a cash basis while the GAAP deficit remained, through current Republican Scott Walker.<ref>[http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/does-wisconsin-have-a-budget-deficit-4o3s9ro-137863973.html The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Does Wisconsin have a budget deficit?" Jan. 22, 2012]</ref>
 
In Jan. 2012, an issues arose regarding the state's accounting principles.  Under cash basis accounting, which the state uses, the governor announced that the state budget was balanced.  In Jan. 2012, however, state officials certified to federal government officials that under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the state will have a deficit.  Under GAAP, the states promises to pay money in the future are taken into account, whereas they are not in cash basis accounting.  This so-called GAAP deficit goes back years in state government to past governors such as Democrat Jim Doyle who also have said they balanced the budget on a cash basis while the GAAP deficit remained, through current Republican Scott Walker.<ref>[http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/does-wisconsin-have-a-budget-deficit-4o3s9ro-137863973.html The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Does Wisconsin have a budget deficit?" Jan. 22, 2012]</ref>
  
The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau is a non-partisan legislative service agency created to assist the Legislature in maintaining oversight of state operations. The Bureau conducts objective audits and evaluations of state agency operations to ensure financial transactions have been made in a legal and proper manner and to determine whether programs are administered effectively, efficiently, and in accordance with the policies of the Legislature and the Governor. The results of these evaluations are provided to the Legislature, along with recommendations for improvements in agency operations. The Legislative Audit Bureau was created by Chapter 659, Laws of Wisconsin 1965. Prior to the creation of the Bureau, financial audits were performed by the Department of State Audit, an executive branch department created in 1947. The Legislative Audit Bureau is organized into four sections: Financial Audit, Program Evaluation, Information Systems Support, and Administrative Services.<ref>[http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/ ''The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Web site'', retrieved November 18, 2009]</ref>   
+
The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau is a nonpartisan legislative service agency created to assist the Legislature in maintaining oversight of state operations. The Bureau conducts objective audits and evaluations of state agency operations to ensure financial transactions have been made in a legal and proper manner and to determine whether programs are administered effectively, efficiently, and in accordance with the policies of the Legislature and the Governor. The results of these evaluations are provided to the Legislature, along with recommendations for improvements in agency operations. The Legislative Audit Bureau was created by Chapter 659, Laws of Wisconsin 1965. Prior to the creation of the Bureau, financial audits were performed by the Department of State Audit, an executive branch department created in 1947. The Legislative Audit Bureau is organized into four sections: Financial Audit, Program Evaluation, Information Systems Support, and Administrative Services.<ref>[http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/ ''The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Web site'', retrieved November 18, 2009]</ref>   
  
The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Wisconsin “Timely” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA does not consider Wisconsin's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care. Wisconsin's CAFRs are publications of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Executive Budget and Finance, State Controller's Office.<ref>[http://www.statedatalab.org/state_data_and_comparisons/detail/wisconsin IFTA State Data Lab: Wisconsin. Accessed September 17, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://truthinaccounting.org/news/listing_article.asp?section=451&section2=451&CatID=3&ArticleSource=567 ''Institute for Truth in Accounting'', “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35]</ref><ref>[http://www.doa.state.wi.us/ ''Wisconsin Department of Administration Web site'', retrieved November 18, 2009]</ref>
+
The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Wisconsin “Timely” in filing the state’s [[Comprehensive Annual Financial Report]] (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA does not consider Wisconsin's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care. Wisconsin's CAFRs are publications of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Executive Budget and Finance, State Controller's Office.<ref>[http://www.statedatalab.org/state_data_and_comparisons/detail/wisconsin IFTA State Data Lab: Wisconsin. Accessed September 17, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://truthinaccounting.org/news/listing_article.asp?section=451&section2=451&CatID=3&ArticleSource=567 ''Institute for Truth in Accounting'', “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35]</ref><ref>[http://www.doa.state.wi.us/ ''Wisconsin Department of Administration Web site'', retrieved November 18, 2009]</ref>
  
 
===Credit Rating===
 
===Credit Rating===

Revision as of 16:00, 23 January 2014

Wisconsin state budget

Flag of Wisconsin.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2014
Date signed:  May 8, 2013
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $14.77 billion
Other state budgets
AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Wisconsin Assembly and Senate approved a $66 billion budget for FY2014 and FY2015, enacted on June 30, 2013 with a partial veto from Governor Scott Walker. The FY2013-15 budget as passed can be found online.The state operates on a biennial budget cycle, which currently encompasses FY2014-015. The fiscal year begins on July 1.[1][2]

As of FY2012, Wisconsin has a total state debt of approximately $79.6 billion when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the budget gap.[3] The FY2013 state debt total is less than the prior year's approximately debt total of $81,154,800,000.[4]

Wisconsin's total state debt per capita was $13,936.26 in FY2012.[5]


Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Wisconsin 25.22% (#41) 29.83% (#37) 33.72% (#35) 32.79% (#36)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[6][7]

Fiscal Year 2012-13 State Budget

The FY2013-15 state budget documents can be found online through the Department of Administration.[8]

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said on Sept. 5, 2012 that higher-than-expected tax collections will create a surplus of $273 million.[9]

Passage of the Budget

On June 26, 2011, Gov. Scott Walker signed the $66 billion FY2012-13 state budget that passed the legislature along party lines into law. The budget does not raise general taxes, but it cuts more than $1 billion from education and local governments. The governor also rewrote a section of the budget to now require public employees to work five years before qualifying for pension.[10] The state faced a $3.6 billion budget shortfall over the next 2 years as reported by Wisconsin Republicans to MSNBC.[11]

The full Assembly approved the $66 billion FY2012-13 budget by a vote of 60-38 on June 16, 2011. The budget increased spending of state and federal money by $1.1 billion, an increase 1.8% over the biennium. Under the spending plan, the state will end the biennium with an estimated $300 million surplus in its main account. The budget reduces aid to schools by $800 million over two years and limits property taxes to facilitate significant tax cuts for manufacturers, multi-state corporations and investors. It also limits spending on health programs for the poor.[12]

The Joint Finance Committee approved the state budget on June 3, 2011 with a party line vote of 12 to 5. The committee scaled back a plan to privatize enrollment for state aid programs for the poor and approved a new tax cut for manufacturing and agricultural businesses.[13] It was approved by the Legislature. The legislature was prepared to add in the collective bargaining limits to the budget bill if the Wisconsin Supreme Court had not ruled, but the Supreme Court did reinstate the law, finding that legislators did not violate the state's open meeting's law, the night before the budget went before the full Assembly.

Mortgage settlement money

Gov. Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen have announced plans to use $25.6 million of the national mortgage settlement money, approximately 18 percent of the funds the state will receive, to plug holes in the state's budget.[14]

Cuts

On Dec. 23, 2011, the state Department of Administration announced $123 million in cuts for FY2012 that were initially part of the budget passed in June but had not yet been specified. It is cutting $46.1 million from the University of Wisconsin System, followed by trimming $18.5 million from the Department of Health Services and cutting $9.4 million from the Department of Corrections. The Department of Children and Families will lose $8.3 million and plans to cut $8.1 million in "income augmentation." the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp will see a $2.1 million reduction in funds.[15]

The University of Wisconsin System will lose an addition $19.7 million in FY2013 as part of an additional $5 million in cuts that are planned.[15][16]

The governor in October 2011 asked state agencies to plan for $300 million in possible cuts over the next two years, which was up from the $174 million in cuts agencies had been expecting. Some state agencies to return some of their state funding already allocated in the budget. Of the $174 million in original cuts, most would be to the University of Wisconsin System, which represents about 7% of the state's General Program Revenue expenditures.[17]

Education

Per-pupil funding for 2012-'13 school year is slightly higher than the per-pupil funding that the state budgeted for in the pirior last school year, but still $911 below the amount the state was sending to school districts per pupil before the start of the recession in 2008.[18]

Merit Raises

Gov. Scott Walker established a program that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in merit raises and bonuses to some state workers despite the talks of budget deficits and cost cutting. An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees, despite the state facing a $143 million shortfall. [19]

Sheboygan County

City of Sheboygan officials are disputing claims by the Walker administration that their budget measure to have public employees contribute more to health insurance will save the city $1.3 million. City officials said the city is likely to save only $420,000 because employees were already contributing between 8 and 10 percent. [20]

Sheboygan County officials reported similar findings. Officials reported saving about $1.6 million in its 2012 budget as a result of benefit concessions under Walker's bill, compared to the $2.1 million the Walker administration both claimed. [21]

The Sheboygan Area School District, school officials have previously reported saving about $4 million as a result of the collective bargaining bill, versus the $6.6 million reported by the Walker administration. [22]

Regional Libraries

Last year, lawmakers cut state support for Wisconsin's 17 regional public library systems by 10 percent. [23]

Medicaid

The governor's administration had expected to receive $45 million from the federal government as reimbursement for past medical costs that the state paid, it believes improperly, because of systemic federal mistakes involving disability programs. On Oct. 30, 2011, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that she lacked the legal authority to make the payments or provide a "quick solution" to the issue.[24]

The state will now have to find a way to adjust when the budget already called for t $220 million in savings in state money in programs that provide medical care for children and families, nursing home care for the elderly and disabled, and prescription drugs for seniors.[24]

Governor's 2011-2012 Budget

Proposed Budget

Governor Scott Walker said that he will not raise taxes but will tackle the estimated $3.1 billion shortfall with the budget that he was to present on Feb. 22, 2011. The Governor said that he would delay actually introducing his proposed budget bill until after that.[25][26][27]

Budget highlights include: [28]

  • $800 million reduction in school spending
  • Reduces the ability to make up the difference through property tax increases
  • Cuts University of Wisconsin System funding by $250 million
  • Eliminates $500 million from the state's Medicaid programs
  • Establishes an enrollment cap on the Family Care program designed to keep poor, elderly people out of nursing homes
  • Property taxes are held nearly flat with the projected increase on the average home about $50 over the next two years
  • Eliminating benefits for some poor families under the Earned Income Tax Credit and freezing benefits under the homestead tax credit program

The proposed budget will include the possibility of selling power plants at state facilities, including university campuses and prisons.[29] State agencies have requested $1.1 billion in new funding for a "cost to continue" budget for the 2011-13 biennium.[30]

Gov. Walker introduced his proposed budget for the two-year budget period that begins on July 1, 2011, on March 1, 2011.[31] The proposed budget does not raise taxes or fees, but reduces school and local government aid from the state by $1.5 billion to items like the schools and local governments.[31] The plan cuts aid to school by approximately 8%, and calls for local school districts to be limited in how much they can raise in property taxes.[31] The governor also suggested local governments be restricted in how they could raise property taxes to make up for the losses they will have as a result of the budget.[31]

The governor had originally planned to unveil his proposed budget only after state lawmakers approved his bill to reduce collective bargaining rights for public workers, but that has not happened due to lawmakers leaving the state.(see below).[31]

Democrats described the cuts as devastating to ordinary families. Republicans supported the plan, saying it was but one more piece of evidence that public sector workers needed to pay more for their health and pension benefits and that collective bargaining on matters beyond wages could no longer be afforded.[31]

The extent to which the governor's budget cuts spending is a topic of debate. The governor's office said that his budget reduced spending overall by 6%. Two other analyses, however, found that the governor's budget transferred spending to new quasi-public authorities and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and that those figures were considered outside of the budget but that, when those numbers were factored in, the governor's budget actually increases spending by 1.5%.[32]

The debate over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan, which Democrats decry as an attack on the middle class, was delayed June 14 while both parties waited for a host of changes to be drafted to the $66 billion spending plan. Debate on the budget was delayed until June 15, Republican lawmakers announced. [33] Republicans control the Assembly 59-38-1 with one vacancy. They also control the Senate 19-14.

Despite the state's budget issues, Wisconsin may give some $200 million to out-of-state financial management companies willing to invest in small businesses as part of a bigger economic development initiative. The bill would create a Wisconsin Venture Capital Authority aimed at boosting start-up businesses by setting up two venture capital investment programs, a Badger Jobs Fund and a Jobs Now Fund, totaling $400 million. It could end up costing the state up to $590 million over the 17-year life of the legislation, according to the Department of Revenue. [34]

Capital Budget

On March 14, 2011, Gov. Walker recommended a capital budget of $1.1 billion for building projects over the next two years, down 28.8% from FY2011's capital budget. To reduce the budget, the proposal recommends deferring a number of large projects.[35]

Education Funding

Walker's first budget cut $792.2 million, or 7.1 percent, in state aid for K-12 schools over the biennium ending June 2013, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. However, school districts faced an even steeper $1.6 billion net reduction in funding because Walker's budget slashed the amount of money school districts could legally raise through property taxes. Most districts were able to offset much of the lost revenue by having employees pay more for pension and health insurance premiums. Many switched health insurance plans. [36]

Three out of four districts also reduced staff, according to data released last week by the Department of Public Instruction. More than 2,300 positions were cut statewide, but a disproportionate number came from three districts -- Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville -- where employee unions refused to accept pension and health insurance contributions. A record number of retirements also mitigated the number of layoffs. [37]

Public Employee Unions and the Budget Bill

Gov. Walker introduced and the legislature passed a budget bill that would impact what state employees pay for their health care costs and their ability to collectively bargain.[38] Initially the legislative language regarding collective bargaining and employee health insurance and pension fund contributions was part of a budget bill, but then taken out of the budget bill and used to create a separate bill, [[Wisconsin Act 10, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill" (2011)|Wisconsin Act 10]. The bill polarized lawmakers and up to 40,000 thousands of union protesters filled the state Capitol in protests that lasted for weeks.[31][26] The governor signed the bill into law on March 11, 2011.[39]

The law requires all public employees to pay more for their health care and pension benefits at the same time it takes away all collective bargaining rights except over raises no greater than inflation. Local police and firefighters, along with the state patrol, would retain their bargaining rights. [40] Walker counted on the public worker concessions generating about $300 million in savings to the state over the next two years to help balance the budget. [41]

Recall Election

The governor's actions related to collective bargaining in the state led Democrats to collect over 900,000 valid signatures to the recall Gov. Walker. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board voted unanimously for the recall election. It set the primary on May 8 and the general election for June 5.[42]

Exit polls following the April 2012 presidential primary show Walker has strong support from the Republican voters. Republican primary voters overwhelmingly — by about 8 in 10 — approve of Walker’s job as governor. [43]

Polling indicates that the recall battle will tight. A recent poll from Marquette University Law School showed Walker with a slight advantage over two of his possible Democratic challengers. Measured against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whom Walker defeated for governor in 2010, Walker has a two point lead of 47 percent to 45 percent. Against former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, Walker has a 4-point lead of 49 percent to 45 percent. [44]

If successful in challenging Walker Falk promised to veto any budget that did not repeal Walker's collective bargaining reforms. Barrett said that strategy would not work. Barrett said he would attempt to repeal Walker's union reforms by calling a special legislative session. [45]

Court Challenges

On March 30, 2012, Wisconsin Federal District Court Judge William Conley ruled that some portions of Wisconsin’s Act 10 violates the equal protection rights of state employee unions. The judge found that the law’s prohibition of automatic dues collecting and the requirement that the affected unions hold annual recertification elections was unconstitutional because police and firefighter unions were exempt from those portions of the law.[46]

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi struck down Gov. Scott Walker's controversial bill stripping collective bargaining rights from public employees. Sumi ruled the March 9 meeting of the state Legislature's Joint Committee of Conference violated Wisconsin Open Records Law and that the budget bill "consequently has no force or effect." [47]

Democratic lawmakers left the state to block the Republican majority from passing the budget legislation, which included a controversial measure to diminish collective bargaining rights. But in an unexpected move, Walker and the Republican lawmakers split their bill into two, allowing the non-budget collective bargaining measure to fly through with no Democrats in the room. The Senate’s 19 Republicans approved the measure, 18 to 1, in less than half an hour, without any debate on the floor or a single Democrat in the room. [48]

In her ruling Sumi wrote "This was not a case in which proper notice was missed by a few minutes or an hour. Not even the two-hour notice justified by 'good cause' was provided." The judge said state lawmakers were "understandably frustrated by the stalemate" but added frustration does not justify foregoing compliance with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law in order to move the budget bill forward. "This case is the exemplar of values protected by the Open Meetings Law: transparency in government, the right of citizens to participate in their government, and respect for the rule of law."[49] Sumi's May 23 ruling was a reaffirmation of a ruling she made March 18 halting implementation of the governor's bill. However, the governor challenged Sumi's initial stay of his budget plan. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in June to determine if Sumi had the authority to block Walker's budget bill. [50]

In addition, Sumi said that the legislature could fix it all by giving new, adequate notice of a meeting -- and then pass the law again. [51]

On June 14 the state Supreme Court reinstated Gov. Walker's plan that would impact collective bargaining for public workers. The court was divided in its decision, ruling 4-3 to overturn the lower court's decision.The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state's open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge. [52]

The high court struck down Sumi's ruling, saying the judge exceeded her jurisdiction, "invaded" the Legislature's constitutional powers and erred in halting the publication and implementation of the collective bargaining law. [53]

Public Protests Thousands of opponents to Walker's collective bargaining actions filled the streets of the state capital protesting the proposed legislation. Following the Supreme Court's overturning of Sumi's ruling, thousands returned to the capitol to again protest the legislature's plan to end collective bargaining. [54]

The upheaval the measure caused continues to roil state politics. Six of the Republican senators who supported the law, and three of the Democratic senators who opposed it, will faced special recall elections in July 2011. [55]

Health Care Costs

Protests erupted over the Governor's budget bill that would require state employees to contribute 5.8% of their salary toward their pensions, and also pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums.[26][11] The move is anticipated to save nearly $300 million over the following two fiscal years.[56] Gov. Walker said that asking employees to pay half the national average for health care "is truly a modest request."[57] Walker also denied that his proposal is trying to break the unions.[57][58]

Collective Bargaining

The law eliminates almost all union bargaining rights on everything except salary.[56][59] Unions will be unable to seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum.[11] In addition, unions also will have to hold annual votes to stay organized and would be unable to force employees to pay dues.[11]

Employees who retain their collective bargaining rights are local police, firefighters and state troopers.[11]

Vote on the Health Care and Collective Bargaining Provisions

On March 9, 2011, the state Senate moved to separate the collective bargaining language from the fiscal budget legislation language, because a quorum isn't needed for a nonbudgetary bill. The Senate could then vote on the collective bargaining language.[60]

When Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald read the bill to a joint conference committee, Rep. Peter Barca objected, saying the committee's meeting was in violation of the state's open meetings law. The vote was held and the measure was approved.[61]

After the Senate vote, the collective bargaining bill moved to the Assembly on March 10, 2011, amid intense protests that prevented lawmakers from entering. Capitol police closed the building and removed demonstrators inside who refused to leave and reopened one entrance to the building, allowing lawmakers to enter for the vote.[62] The Assembly passed the bill that afternoon.[63]

The governor signed the bill into law on March 11, 2011.[64]

Layoffs

Republican lawmakers said collective bargaining rules must be changed so governments can avoid laying off thousands of workers.[65] Walker has said that he will have to lay off up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.[11] On March 4, 2011, The governor sent letters to state employee unions informing them that layoff notices would go out to 1,500 state employees in 15 days,[66] but he rescinded those layoff notices once the bill was approved, saying that the bill would lead to suffiicient savings that layoffs would not be necessary.[67]

Democratic Senators Leave State

To avoid a vote on the measure, 14 Senate Democrats disappeared and could not be found.[68] They reportedly went to a hotel in Illinois.[11] Republicans control the State Senate by 19 to 14, but to have a vote on fiscal matters, 20 senators must be present.[68] The Senate Democrats, however, threatened to stay away for weeks.[69] The Senate scheduled votes on other bills of interest to Democrats, hoping that they would return to vote on them.[70] On March 2, 2011, the Senate voted to levy fines of $100 a day for the 14 Senators who fled Wisconsin to stall the vote.[71] The remaining senators passed a unanimous resolution finding the missing Senators in contempt and ordering them to return to the Senate, with threat of arrest if they resisted.[72]

The Assembly passed the bill just after midnight on Feb. 25, 2011.[73] Assembly Democrats, however, tried to stall the proposal by offering more than a hundred amendments.[74] Lawmakers extended debate for 43 hours.[75] On Feb. 24, 2011, the Assembly reached a deal to limit amendments and debates and appeared to be close to voting on the bill.[76] State troopers were then sent to the homes of the 14 missing Democrats, but they were not found. Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin and would not return until Walker was willing to compromise.[76]

The governor said that if the bill is not passed and signed into law before Feb. 26, 2011, a key part of the proposal is lost because a refinancing of state debt that would free up $165 million will be lost if not complete by then and more cuts will be needed to balance the budget.[70] A payment on state debt is due by March 15.[73]

In the case of a walkout, Walker has put the National Guard on alert.[77]

School Closures

More than 15 school districts, including the Madison schools were closed for four days due to teachers and staff calling in sick.[78][79] Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County District Court denied the Madison school district requests for an injunction against Madison Teachers Inc. so that schools could reopen.[78]

Budget transparency

Wisconsin currently has no government-sponsored state spending database. As mentioned below, Milwaukee residents have some level of transparency, thanks to the independent transparency site hosted by Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG).

Sign up for Show Me The Spending's weekly transparency e-updates. As transparency news about Wisconsin becomes available, it will be sent out by email and posted on this page.

See Also: Wisconsin Rep. Molepske re-introduces Open Government Act

Government tools

Wiconsin's Contract Sunshine Act called for the creation and maintenance of an Internet site so that anyone could access information about every state contract, purchase, and solicitation of bids or proposals that involves an annual expenditure of $10,000 or more. The site, Contract Sunshine, launched in 2007. In 2011, a state audit found the side to be of "limited value" and sometimes erroneous.[80]

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary Exemption Level
Contract Sunshine N
600px-Red x.png
N
600px-Red x.png
{{{1}}}
N
600px-Red x.png
N
600px-Red x.png
N
600px-Red x.png
$10,000
See also: Evaluation of Wisconsin state website

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Wisconsin, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.[81][82]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[83][84]

Budget background

Wisconsin operates on a biennium, covering two fiscal years at a time. A fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year with the biennium starting July 1 of odd-numbered years. Agency budget requests are submitted in September of even-numbered years. During the following months, the Governor meets with the departments and agencies to hear their budget proposals for the following fiscal year. Following the hearings the Governor issues a budget recommendation for the upcoming fiscal year to the Legislature. Both the State Assembly and the Senate are required to make any necessary changes or adjustments to the budget until the bill is passed in both houses. [85] When the Lesgislature passes the bill the Governor approve of the bill as a whole, veto the entire bill or execute line-item vetoes. [86] Gov. Doyle signed the FY 2010-2011 biennial budget (covering July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011) with 81 vetoes.[87]

Accounting principles

See also: Wisconsin government accounting principles

In Jan. 2012, an issues arose regarding the state's accounting principles. Under cash basis accounting, which the state uses, the governor announced that the state budget was balanced. In Jan. 2012, however, state officials certified to federal government officials that under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the state will have a deficit. Under GAAP, the states promises to pay money in the future are taken into account, whereas they are not in cash basis accounting. This so-called GAAP deficit goes back years in state government to past governors such as Democrat Jim Doyle who also have said they balanced the budget on a cash basis while the GAAP deficit remained, through current Republican Scott Walker.[88]

The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau is a nonpartisan legislative service agency created to assist the Legislature in maintaining oversight of state operations. The Bureau conducts objective audits and evaluations of state agency operations to ensure financial transactions have been made in a legal and proper manner and to determine whether programs are administered effectively, efficiently, and in accordance with the policies of the Legislature and the Governor. The results of these evaluations are provided to the Legislature, along with recommendations for improvements in agency operations. The Legislative Audit Bureau was created by Chapter 659, Laws of Wisconsin 1965. Prior to the creation of the Bureau, financial audits were performed by the Department of State Audit, an executive branch department created in 1947. The Legislative Audit Bureau is organized into four sections: Financial Audit, Program Evaluation, Information Systems Support, and Administrative Services.[89]

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rates Wisconsin “Timely” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA does not consider Wisconsin's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care. Wisconsin's CAFRs are publications of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Executive Budget and Finance, State Controller's Office.[90][91][92]

Credit Rating

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Wisconsin AA[93] Aa2[94] AA[95]

Stimulus

Wisconsin received $3.63 billion in federal funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[96]

Public Employees

See Also: Wisconsin public employee salaries
See Also: Wisconsin public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of Wisconsin employed a total of 103,489 people. Of those employees, 56,068 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $280.5 millio per month and 47,421 were part-time employees paid $48.2 million per month.[97] More than 57% of those employees, or 218,585 employees, were in education or higher education.[97]

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
  2. State of Wisconsin 2013-2015 Budget. Accessed September 17, 2013
  3. Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  4. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  5. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  6. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  7. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  8. Wisconsin Department of Administration Budget Documents. Accessed September 17, 2013
  9. WTAQ.com "State expects small budget surplus" Sept. 6, 2012
  10. The Green Bay Press Gazette "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs state budget in Green Bay area" June 27, 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 MSNBC.com "Wis. union vote on hold after Democrats leave state" Feb. 17, 2011
  12. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Budget passes Assembly with provisions on choice schools, broadband funds" June 16, 2011
  13. WHBL.com "Joint Finance Committee Approves State Budget" June 4, 2011
  14. The Huffington Post "National Mortgage Settlement: Some States Using Mortgage Deal Funds To Close Budget Gaps " Feb. 10, 2012
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wisconsin State Journal "State releases details of budget cuts; UW System to take biggest hit" Dec. 24, 2011
  16. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "UW System shoulders biggest share of new budget cuts" Dec. 23, 2011
  17. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "UW System, state government face deeper cuts" Oct. 19, 2011
  18. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Amount budgeted per pupil lags total before recession" Sept. 4, 2012
  19. ABC, Wis. Gives $765,000 in Bonuses Despite Budget Hole, April 20, 2012
  20. Sheboygan Press, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget reforms: Sheboygan County numbers appear inflated, April 23, 2012
  21. Sheboygan Press, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget reforms: Sheboygan County numbers appear inflated, April 23, 2012
  22. Sheboygan Press, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget reforms: Sheboygan County numbers appear inflated, April 23, 2012
  23. Superior Telegram, Budget cuts threaten regional library system, April 23, 2012
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "$45 million federal check not in the mail" Oct. 30, 2011
  25. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Poll show misperceptions about state budget" Nov. 21, 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 The Green Bay Press Gazette "Union supporters across Wisconsin protest Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal" Feb. 15, 2011
  27. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Assembly's abrupt adjournment caps chaotic day in Capitol " Feb. 18, 2011
  28. BusinessWeek, Wis. budget debate to begin under security, June 13, 2011
  29. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Walker proposes selling state-owned power plants" Feb. 14, 2011
  30. Watchdog, Wisconsin State Agencies Determined to Spend More, Sept. 29, 2010
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 The New York Times "Wisconsin Budget Would Slash School and Municipal Aid" March 1, 2011
  32. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Spending would increase 1% under Walker budget" March 28, 2011
  33. Superior Telegram, Wisconsin Assembly delays budget debate to Wednesday, June 15, 2011
  34. Wisconsin Strate Journal, State budget: Venture capital idea draws fire from both sides, June 14, 2011
  35. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Walker unveils $1.1 billion capital budget plan" March 14, 2011
  36. Superior Telegram, Education expected to be a 'major issue' in Walker recall election, April 23, 2012
  37. Superior Telegram, Education expected to be a 'major issue' in Walker recall election, April 23, 2012
  38. CNN.com Live: Wisconsin Assembly passes controversial labor bill March 10, 2011
  39. MSNBC.com "Wis. governor officially cuts collective bargaining" March 11, 2011
  40. Forbes, Latest union proposal exempts Wis. transit workers, June 14, 2011
  41. Forbes, Latest union proposal exempts Wis. transit workers, June 14, 2011
  42. Politico "Scott Walker recall set for June 5" March 30, 2012
  43. NY Times, In Wisconsin Exit Polls, Hints at the Leanings of November Voters, April 3, 2012
  44. ABC, Gov. Scott Walker: Most Polarizing Man In Wisconsin?, April 4, 2012
  45. Weekly Standard, Tom Barrett Undermines Efforts to Undo Walker Reforms, April 12, 2012
  46. Forbes.com "Federal Judge Strikes Down Part Of Scott Walker's Anti-Collective Bargaining Law" March 30, 2012
  47. Legal News Online, Wisconsin Judge Rules Against Governor's Budget Bill, May 24, 2011
  48. New York Times, Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Law Curbing Unions, May 35, 2011
  49. Legal News Online, Wisconsin Judge Rules Against Governor's Budget Bill, May 24, 2011
  50. Legal News Online, Wisconsin Judge Rules Against Governor's Budget Bill, May 24, 2011
  51. MSNBC, Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Union Right Law, May 25, 2011
  52. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/123859034.html/ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Supreme Court reinstates collective bargaining law, June 14, 2011]
  53. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/123859034.html/ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Supreme Court reinstates collective bargaining law, June 14, 2011]
  54. Public News Service, Thousands Protest WI Budget, June 15, 2011
  55. Reuters, Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds anti-union law, June 14, 2011
  56. 56.0 56.1 The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Budget bill draws a crowd" Feb. 15, 2011
  57. 57.0 57.1 CBSNews.com "Wis. gov: I took "bold political move" on budget" Feb. 18, 2011
  58. Wall Street Journal, Union Fight Heats Up, Feb. 18, 2011
  59. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Wis. state workers and allies descend on Madison to protest halt to collective bargaining" Feb. 15, 2011
  60. Fox News "Wisconsin Republicans Plan to Pass Budget Bill Without Democrats, Sources Say" March 9, 2011
  61. MSNBC.com "Wis. GOP votes to push through anti-union bill" March 9, 2011
  62. [http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/03/10/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1 CNN.com "Wisconsin Capitol re-opens as state Assembly takes up bill" March 10, 2011
  63. CNN.com Live: Wisconsin Assembly passes controversial labor bill March 10, 2011
  64. MSNBC.com "Wis. governor officially cuts collective bargaining" March 11, 2011
  65. Reuters "Thousand of Wisconsin union workers protest budget plan" Feb. 15, 2011
  66. The Washington Post "Wis. governor begins process for layoffs" March 4, 2011
  67. The New York Times "Wisconsin Governor Rescinds Layoff Notices" March 11, 2011
  68. 68.0 68.1 New York Times "Democrats Missing, Wisconsin Vote on Cuts Is Delayed" Feb. 17, 2011
  69. Yahoo! News "Wisconsin Democrats could stay away for weeks" Feb. 18, 2011
  70. 70.0 70.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Both sides in Wisconsin budget battle dig in deeper " Feb. 23, 2011
  71. ABCNEWS.com "Ohio Public Employee Unions Lose; Wisconsin And Indiana Democrats Seek Deals" March 2, 2011
  72. The Wall Street Journal "Pressure Mounts on Absent Democrats in Wisconsin, Indiana" March 3, 2011
  73. 73.0 73.1 Reuters "Wisconsin Assembly approves plan to curb unions" Feb. 25, 2011
  74. Reuters "In Wisconsin, a jarring new note in discordant debate" Feb. 23, 2011
  75. []
  76. 76.0 76.1 MSNBC.com "Wis. stalemate: Deal struck, cops sent to Dem homes" Feb. 24, 2011
  77. The Chicago Tribune "Walker says National Guard is prepared" Feb. 11, 2011
  78. 78.0 78.1 WKOW.com "MMSD denied temporary restraining order" Feb. 18, 2011
  79. WFRV.com "Madison schools remain closed, Fourth day in a row" Feb. 21, 2011
  80. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Audit says state informational website is of limited value" Aug. 31, 2011
  81. Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  82. University of Illinois Transparency Profile for Wisconsin
  83. University of Illinois 50 State Transparency Comparison
  84. [ University of Illinois State Transparency Profiles
  85. Mental Health America of Wisconsin,"Wisconsin budget process," retrieved March 18,2009
  86. State of Wisconsin,"The Wisconsin Biennial Budget Process Overview of Governmental Structure," retrieved March 18,2009
  87. National Conference of State Legislatures, "Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Status," November 2, 2009
  88. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Does Wisconsin have a budget deficit?" Jan. 22, 2012
  89. The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Web site, retrieved November 18, 2009
  90. IFTA State Data Lab: Wisconsin. Accessed September 17, 2013
  91. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  92. Wisconsin Department of Administration Web site, retrieved November 18, 2009
  93. United States Census Bond Ratings for State Governments by State: 2010. Accessed September 17, 2013
  94. Moody's Assigns Aa2 Rating to the State of Wisconsin's $212.8 Million General Obligation 2012 Series A, Accessed September 17, 2013
  95. Pew Stateline S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001–2012, Accessed September 17, 2013
  96. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State" Accessed September 17, 2013
  97. 97.0 97.1 2008 Wisconsin Public Employment U.S. Census Data