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Live: Walker Speaking On Wisconsin Budget

Governor Scott Walker is about to deliver his budget presentation from the state Assembly chamber. You can watch it on C-SPAN 3. I have what I believe is the executive budget summary, and as expected, Walker slashes local government and school district spending by over $1 billion in the budget, filling most of the annual gap that way, while capping property tax rates and offering no revenue increases. This isn’t shared sacrifice, it balances the budget on the backs of the working people of Wisconsin.

I’ll follow along.

…there do not seem to be any protesters in the gallery. Walker is doing the same praise for the passionate debate and differences lawmakers have, and made an oblique reference to the State Senate to participate in the Democratic process.

…Walker is being the nice guy, giving an example about state employees at the Farm Center helping a rural farmer, “that may have actually saved someone’s life.” It’s treacly but it may be effective, if you didn’t realize that he wants to take away the rights of those same public employees.

…The biennial budget is “built on the savings of the budget repair bill.” This is his two-step: remove collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public employees, and then starve the localities of funds so they, not him, have to reduce the pay of the employees or commit to layoffs.

…This is basically the same story Walker has been peddling for the past two weeks.

…Walker says that his budget cuts $4.2 billion in spending reductions, decreases structural deficit by 90%.

…Walker admits it: he’ll cut over $1.25 billion in aid to school districts and local governments, paired with $1.5 billion in savings from the budget repair bill, based on “tools” given to the municipalities and school districts. What he doesn’t say: those “tools” are the ability to unilaterally cut pay for those public workers.

…Walker also wants to split UW-Madison off from the UW system.

…Walker certainly likes talking about “tools.” You finish the rest of the joke.

…And here come the corporate tax cuts. Walker wants to eliminate the capital gains tax and give employers tax breaks for hiring as well. The latter has dubious ability to actually create jobs, and the former is just a giveaway. Walker’s budget also locks in property tax levies at the local level. The budget-balancing is almost entirely on the workers.

…Someone really needs to call Walker on the “giving local governments the tools” nonsense.

…Walker concludes that “we are returning to frugality.” Some would say cruelty.

…Natasha Chart writes: “Shorter Walker: premiums & copays we’re going to charge people getting off public assistance will really help us cut capital gains taxes.”

…We’re done.

Protesters are all over the Capitol, by the way.

The biggest part of this speech was the reiterated threat to start laying off public employees unless the Senate passes his budget repair bill.

“Again, this is why it is so vitally important for the Senate democrats to come back and do their jobs. If they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers. However, if they do come back, overall savings for schools across the state will outweigh reductions, ultimately allowing schools to put more money in the classroom.”

This is just nonsensical, because what he means is that he would starve teachers of pay.

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Live: Gov. Walker Speaking on Wisconsin Budget

David Dayen

David Dayen