Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunchtime musings: Budget shortfall or “wish list?” Inconsistencies in past cause present confusion

Gov. Walker called agency requests a budget shortfall when it came from Doyle

Is it fair to call the $2.2 billion in budget requests a “budget shortfall?” These are, after all, simply requests from the various agencies in state government.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch was quick to say so in his department’s report (PDF) detailing the requests, which states unequivocally that the “assumption that ALL agency budget requests will be funded” is “flawed.”

Calling these new $2.2 billion budget requests a shortfall, then, is a bit of a stretch. But that doesn’t mean that these budget requests aren’t alarming. Indeed, alarmist behavior is how Gov. Scott Walker reacted when there were similar requests before he took office.

As pointed out by, this “method” for these budget requests “was also the foundation for the $3.6 billion deficit” claim that Walker has consistently made on campaigns and other self-promotion tours across the country.

To characterize the $3.6 billion budget requests from 2010 as a deficit and to disregard the current requests as a simple “wish list” shows inconsistencies in Walker’s and his administration’s rhetoric. Either there’s a problem with Walker’s budgeting scheme, or the alarmist words from Walker’s campaign were off the mark. In either case, Wisconsin is owed an explanation.

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