Reform Dividend Excerpt:
Our budget proposal reinvests these savings into our top priority areas to ensure Wisconsin students succeed, reduce college costs, care for the needy, maintain our roads and bridges, reward work, and provides a total of $592.7 million in tax relief for our hard-working taxpayers.
— Governor Scott Walker, 2017
What? Government "provides" ..rewards work and cares for the needy? Keep that thought.
Remember that time before the 2012 recall election when Scott Walker borrowed $558M, kept $342M, and then called it a surplus? Or that time in 2014 when he borrowed $688M mid-budget while promising to return surplus dollars to taxpayers.
State of the State Excerpt: “What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money.” -- Gov. Scott Walker, Jan. 2014
Except, not one person in Wisconsin received a rebate check. Not one. THAT was hilarious too.
Later that year, Walker was re-elected to his second term. Wisconsin voters fall for it every time. Go figure. But, "Give a surplus back to the people who earned it." Those were the days. Ahem.
So here's Walker again and like clockwork he's asking for a one billion plus borrowing note. But this time he won't be giving a portion of the "surplus" back to taxpayers who never ever get it anyways. This time he will be using about $600 million of the note to bail out his failed reforms. He calls this next re-election spending campaign a "reform dividend."
It's pure political genius ...for suckers.
Had Scott Walker's so-called "reforms" actually worked the way he claimed, there would be no need to borrow a dime for this budget or any of his previous budgets. But he does and he did borrow plenty. His precious Act 10 "reform" including tying increases in local budget spending to increases in assessed value growth is an absolute failure bust of epic proportions. They need a bail out.
The first sign of failure for Scott Walker's so-called "reforms" comes by way of all the referendums that have passed across the state annually since he won election in 2010. If his reforms worked, locals would have plenty of increased revenues flowing in NATURALLY from his Laffer Curve induced trickle-down economy. With Wisconsin's millionaires and billionaires "re-investing" their huge tax cuts and credits back into taxable value for their communities, * eyeroll * locals would have no need to turn to referendums just to pay the bills. Everyone should be swimming in cash.
Sure, even under the best of circumstances, local spending referendums would never completely disappear. But they increased at a tremendous rate during Scott Walker's governorship and have become the only way many Wisconsin communities can keep their doors open and lights on. Each and every local referendum passed, (both, operational and maintenance - not for new) is a sign of massive structural failure from Walker's "reforms."
The second sign of massive failure is the billion dollars plus in bonding his budgets require to meet balance followed by additional borrowing mid-term to meet cash-on-hand demands. He could spin it any way he wants and he does, but his so-called "reform dividend," just like his previous "surpluses" is not a dividend if it's paid for with borrowed money. Fact is, BAIL-OUTS require borrowed money. That shouldn't be too difficult for anyone to understand.
Third, six years have passed since Walker introduced his conservative "brown bag" campaign of "don't spend more than you have" smaller government and less dependency. If those reforms worked as he intended, the state budget would be shrinking and local governments flush in Laffer Curve dollars would be far less dependent and welcoming of state aid.
Indeed, Walker's ideological base should be screaming "socialism" at him for building local economies with reforms that when they do well (in his twisted wrong-headed alternative view) he increases government spending, aid and dependency funded with borrowed money AND spins it as a reward. We're conservatives ...wheeee! We're bootstrapping our over-abundance of surplusage. Hang on everybody. LOL.
Lastly, Walker's idea that government pay out a capital "dividend" as reward for a positive budget outlook but funded with borrowed money, smacks of a backwards overbearing ideologue picking winners and losers for timely political effect. It also helps shape and confirm, albeit in a unflattering way, what many suspect is inevitably true - that government IS the great provider.
RNR - Walker Proposes Bailing Out Act 10 With $659M