Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin IS NOT in financial trouble, no matter how many lies Scott Fitzgerald and Patsy Walker tell. (Publicus Proventus.)

While Tea Partiers fantasize about Governor Patsy Walker running for president someday -- he has the only quality they look for in a president [being white] -- the rest of us have to put up with increasing lies combined with the fact that "fiscal conservatives" who are anything but are now starting to fill up the (supposed) gaps in budgets by taxing the poor while giving money to the rich.

The latest liar on the financial front, at least from Wisconsin, isn't Governor Patsy's empty threat to lay off 1,500 workers -- he won't do that -- it's Senate Liar Scott Fitzgerald, who, when he's not trying to turn his family into the Northwoods version of the Daleys, is simply making up facts. On the "Northwoods Patriot" blog, he writes (or is quoted as saying):
This problem is NOW. If we twiddle our thumbs and do nothing, our state will, plain and simple, run out of money in the Medical Assistance program, the Public Defender’s office, and the Corrections Department. The state owes $200 million to the Injured Patients and Compensation Fund, and almost $60 million to Minnesota in reciprocity payments. Even if you don’t count that $200 million debt, and you ignore the $65 million positive balance the state is legally required to carry, we’re still more than $136 million short this year alone.

That ignores the LFB's projection of a surplus this year, and assumes, as I've written, that Wisconsin will pay all those bills by June 30, which I haven't heard it plans or is legally required to do. But we know that Republicans will simply lie and ignore the facts when it suits them.

And Fitzgerald doesn't stop at simply lying; he also misrepresents what will happen if he's not allowed to follow through on his corporate bosses' instructions to break the middle class: he says that the SPD and other offices will "run out of money," but that happens pretty much yearly, as the state never fully funds that office.

Fitzgerald The Liar also ignores the fact that Wisconsin's pension fund is above 99% funded and is considered one of the safest in the nation -- so Wisconsin can meet all of its state employee pension obligations even after the recession and without additional appropriations.

But this is just the beginning, as I've said and others have said. Still not discussed much are the fact that Fitzgerald the Liar, with his GOP buddies working for megacorporations, is going to transfer more power to Governor Patsy, let him make 35 more patronage appointments, and take $900 million away from public schools... and next they'll probably follow the lead of ultraconservative states that are hiking sales taxes, a regressive move that punishes the middle class and poor by taking money out of their pockets.

The budget "crisis" isn't a crisis, and the State could raise revenue through a variety of innovative means, including amending the state Constitution, progressive taxation of luxury goods, and public-private investment. I'll start detailing those ideas as I go along, because I can't just sit and complain.

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