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Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District

Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District

Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), State Representative 54th Assembly District, is a member of the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee, the Joint Committee on Finance.

Revenue Collections Could Indicate More Budget Trouble

Posted by Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District
Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District
Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), State Representative 54th Assembly District, is a memb
User is currently offline
on Monday, 27 February 2017
in Wisconsin

scott-walker-budget-talkWith state revenue growth flat, Gov. Walker is trying to spend his way out of problems he created to distract voters and provide massive giveaways to the wealthy. Real state revenue growth under the Walker/Trump tandem may make this budget proposal unrealistic.


MADISON - Last week, the Department of Revenue (DOR) released the monthly revenue collection report for January 2017. The report shows a sluggish month of revenue collections, with January 2017 revenue growth up just 0.2% over last January.

The same report shows state revenue growth of just 2.1% through the first seven months of the 2017 fiscal year ending June 30. In January, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) forecasted revenue growth for the current budget year 2017 at 2.7%, a number that was included in Governor Walker’s proposed budget. The difference would mean almost $90 million less in revenue for Governor Walker’s 2017-19 budget.

The month-to-month volatility in state revenue collections highlights the uncertainty of revenue forecasts and budget projections for the 2017-19 budget.

The wish list of proposals aimed at restoring cuts to education made over the past six years relies on fantasy budgeting. However, the basic arithmetic contained in the Governor’s own budget documents show his chronic budget mismanagement will result in a barely balanced general fund, with just $6.7 million remaining beyond the statutorily required end balance.

That balance will not be able to survive even the smallest dip in state revenue performance.

The revenue report also continues a recent and dramatic pattern of low corporate tax collections. For his last three budgets, Governor Walker prioritized massive giveaways for the wealthy that were passed with zero job creation requirements. In order to afford these tax giveaways, he slashed funding for public school classrooms, higher education, and local communities.

The most regressive of the Governor’s tax giveaways, the so-called Manufacturing and Agriculture tax credit, will cost Wisconsin more than $1.4 billion dollars by the end of the Governor’s 2017-19 budget. There is no job creation requirement for the credit, and data from the LFB shows that three out of four people who claim the credit on their income taxes are millionaires.

The Governor is trying to spend his way out of a problem he created to distract voters. Unfortunately, these numbers indicate this may be too little too late. Wisconsin continues to pay the price for the untargeted tax giveaway for the wealthy passed in 2011. Republicans cut over $1 billion from public schools, over $700 million from our university system, and borrowed money on the taxpayer dime for the last two years - just to keep the budget in the black.

With unpredictable state revenue growth under the Walker/Trump tandem, January’s revenue collections show how unrealistic Governor Walker’s budget proposal is.

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Republican Agenda in Madison Full of Misguided Priorities

Posted by Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District
Gordon Hintz, Rep. 54th Assembly District
Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), State Representative 54th Assembly District, is a memb
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 08 October 2015
in Wisconsin

walkerMADISON - In August, the Marquette University Law School poll showed 60 percent of voters in Wisconsin think Governor Walker "doesn't care about people like them”. Based on the current Republican Legislature’s priorities, it is not hard to understand why.

The Legislature’s focus should always reflect challenges facing the people of our state. Based upon the Republicans’ fall agenda, those issues are 1) disbanding the Government Accountability Board, Wisconsin’s campaign finance and elections watchdog, 2) removing anti-corruption protections from civil service laws, and 3) criminalizing life-saving research that uses any cells derived from fetal tissue.

These self-serving power grabs and extreme ideology are not even on the radar of most Wisconsinites. Many of my constituents’ most common challenges have to do with insecurity over future opportunity for themselves and their families. They ask me to address the real problems that make it hard for them to get ahead. Problems such as stagnant wages, the overwhelming cost of child care, and out-of-control student loan debt.

Wisconsin’s job growth has lagged behind the nation over the past four and half years. To make things worse, many of the new jobs are in low wage positions. Low wages make it harder to afford housing, food, child care and higher education. Low wages also reduce consumer spending (one of the main drivers of the economy) and increase the need for government assistance.

Declining income is not a new or temporary problem in Wisconsin. But if many of our new jobs created are lower wage, it would make sense to consider a minimum wage increase. It has been six years since minimum wage earners got a raise in Wisconsin. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would increase wages for over half a million Wisconsin workers, the average age of which is 35 years old. Yet as many other states take action, our Republican led Legislature won’t even hold a public hearing on a bill to gradually increase the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years.

Another huge challenge for working families is affordable child care. The annual cost of infant care in Wisconsin is $10,775. This is significant considering that a single mother’s median income in Wisconsin is $23,568, while a two-parent family is $79,589. For families who depend on low and moderate-income jobs, the high cost of child care can wipe out their income to the point where it is cheaper just to stay home.

I am a co-sponsor of a bill that creates a tax credit for expenses for daycare services. Depending on income, the credit may be worth up to a maximum amount of $3,000/year if there is one qualifying individual and up to $6,000/year if there are two or more. This bill would make child care more affordable, allowing parents who want to get back to work to return to their jobs.

Student loan debt remains a massive obstacle for many former students and their families. The high cost of student loan debt has an impact on all of us. Wisconsin currently has over 800,000 people with outstanding student loan debt, which prevents many from buying a home or saving money for the future. There is a Democratic bill that would allow borrowers to refinance their student loans, providing some relief from this crushing debt. This should be a priority.

Many of the challenges facing people in our state do not have a simple answer. But these challenges deserve our attention and consideration. These issues should be priorities for our Legislature. Unfortunately, Republicans seem more interested in serving themselves than truly serving the public that elected them.

 

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