One Wisconsin Now: Gov. Scott Walker orders no increases for priorities like road funding, job training in next state budget

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Mike Browne, Deputy Director
Are Wisconsinites Starting to See How They’ll Pay With the ‘Foxconn Effect’ on State Budget?

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s instructions to state agencies to begin to prepare their budget proposals for the 2019-21 budget direct all agencies to plan for no increase in their general tax revenue funded programs. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented it seems we are seeing the “Foxconn effect,” where state tax dollars are diverted away from investments in priorities like roads and job training to instead pay for the massive subsidy Walker handed the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer to build a factory in Southeastern Wisconsin.

“It looks like we’re beginning to see the ‘Foxconn effect’ on the state budget,” commented Ross. “Gov. Walker is telling state agencies there is no general fund money for increases in critical areas like road funding, higher education, job training or local police and fire protection. Meanwhile, the spigot is getting turned on and our tax dollars will start flowing to subsidize Foxconn’s bottom line.”

Months before governors submit their proposed budgets, they provide instructions to guide state agencies in preparing their individual agency budget requests. Directions provided by Walker to the agencies in his administration this week say, “All agencies should assume there will be zero growth in overall GPR appropriations in each fiscal year during the 2019-21 biennium.” Walker’s directive also comes despite earlier economic forecasts that the state would experience modest revenue growth in the 2019-2021 state budget cycle.

Among the critical government functions that receive funding through general purpose revenue or “GPR” is the University of Wisconsin and technical colleges, job training programs, shared revenue that helps pay for local fire and police protection, and roads.

Ross concluded, “Foxconn is proving lucrative for Gov. Walker’s campaign donors who are snagging no bid contracts to help build Foxconn’s factory. But with these budget instructions it looks like the rest of us are going to be paying for the $4.5 billion Scott Walker handed them.”

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