Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scott Walker’s Manufactured Crisis…aka Remember the Balloon Boy?

Do you remember the balloon boy?

The balloon boy was the young boy that was allegedly thrust into the air by a large helium balloon. The media went wild. Everyone was on alert to save the boy. However, when the balloon landed, the boy was nowhere to be found. Instead we later found out that the boy had been hiding at home, instructed by his father to lie low as the family basked in the media attention.

Fast forward to today. The Wisconsin budget is $3.6 billion in deficit according to Governor Scott Walker. We are in crisis! 200,000 children will be kicked off of Badger Care and 6,000 employees will be laid off! Call the National Guard! Dissolve the unions!

But are we really in that severe of a financial crisis?

We found out yesterday after our briefing with non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the $3.6 billion deficit in the next budget that Governor Walker and the media has been repeating is a MANUFACTURED CRISIS. The number is based on $3.9 billion in new spending requests by agencies, a 6.2% increase. I don’t think there is a member in the legislature that would vote for that. In fact, I asked Director Lang when was the last time we gave agencies exactly what they requested and was told he couldn’t think of one and he’s been here decades.

Further, the budget forecast for the next biennium projects $1.5 billion in additional revenue something we would have loved to have last session.

And, the most recent national rating shows Wisconsin number 23 of 45 for deficits in proportion to our budgets, a far cry from last session.

The budget needs balance but there is NOT the crisis being manufactured. Yet Scott Walker is loading every radical special interest idea into a plan to “fix” the budget crisis.

Every crisis needs a hero. And that is the role Scott Walker wants. However, I think he will ultimately be cast as the balloon boy.


  1. The Shock Doctrine at work.

  2. Thanks, Mark.

    I am very tired of the beating up on state workers who are not overpaid. Those who do forget that in our negotiations with the state we gave up pay increases for benefits which also benefitted the state because it did not have to pay FICA or its share of the retirement on the increased wages.

    I took a $6,000 hit on the furloughs plus a hit on reduced retirement because one year was lower. Now there would be an even greater hit of like $9,000 a year.

  3. very interesting, look forward to talking about this more!!

  4. Thanks for posting. I heard that it is the plan to make this type of thing spread across the country , and then of course call out the guard to put down the "riots" .. what a shame.. playing games with the American people. I moved from WI, with very fond memories but this is awful... Scott Walker is not the man!

  5. Thank you for your 'insiders' view, and thank you for being my representative. Keep up the good work!

  6. Thank you Mark! A very clear & succinct debunking of the Budget "Repair" Bill. Maybe if we repeat it enough the media will get it right.

  7. Balloon Boy. I really hope you are right!

  8. Why can't the representatives backing these measures and the Scott Walker give up they same in there benefits package. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  9. Thank you very much for your insight Rep. Pocan. This information is critical and I doubt many Wisconsin residents have heard about it. Is there any way you can get the word out more publicly via press conferences, media interviews, etc.?

  10. Mark, Could you provide a link/document from the legislative fiscal bureau supporting your post? I could certainly use a solid non-partisan source in my arguments against this bill.

  11. Rep. Pocan,

    Thank you very much for this information. Do you have any written info on the fiscal projections? I've got the LFB report on last year's budget, this year's proposed budget, and projected general fund income...