There is still some confusion over whether the financial crisis in Wisconsin was ginned up. Yesterday, a progressive Web site pointed to a financial memo in January that said the state would finish the year with a surplus.
Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel disputes that notion, and appears to blame the cancellation of a tax reciprocity agreement with Minnesota as the reason:
But there's more to the memo. The budget surplus will only happen if the state keeps its spending in line with what has been budgeted.
But the memo lays out about $258 million in spending by the state that is projected to go over budget. That's in several areas, including health care spending for the poor, prisons and a payment due to Minnesota in December after the canceling of an income tax agreement between the two states.
MPR's Tom Scheck reported last month that Wisconsin owes Minnesota $58 million:
For 40 years, Minnesota and Wisconsin allowed for reciprocity so people who live in one state but work in another didn't have to file tax returns in each state. Gov. Pawlenty ended the agreement in 2009 because he wanted Wisconsin to speed up payments to Minnesota. He was banking on the funds to help balance the state's budget. His decision to end the reciprocity agreement meant Minnesota was set to gain as much as $131 million from Wisconsin in the current budget cycle.
Meanwhile, much of the bill that's sparked the Wisconsin Uprising exempts firefighters and police officers, but that hasn't apparently stopped firefighters from joining in the protest against a loss of collective bargaining rights for other public employees.
This video was posted a few minutes ago. Firefighters paraded through the street...
.. and into the Capitol.
As for the police, several state troopers were sent to the home of the only Senate Democrat still in the state. He didn't answer the door.
I suspect the Firefighters and Troopers figure they're next. If the current plan is passed and challenged in court, the court might rule that all public employees need to be treated the same. If I were a member of the Police and Firefighter unions I would expect the Governor to broaden these rules to us instead of backing down.
First They came...
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Pastor Martin Niemoller
Planning on small detour to be in Madison on Wednesday as a result of business trip. Will be making my sign for Governor Walker and my Representatives this weekend!
Taking away my neighbor's rights is off the table and so is Madison telling my western WI community how to run our city and school district. This isn't just about the teachers, this is for my county administrative staff, our snow plow drivers, and the rest of workers in my state that contribute to the quality of life I and my family is able to enjoy.
A. Daily Boarderjumper
I love those videos of the firefighters marching in support! Real tear-jerkers!