Sounds like a mutiny is brewing in the state Capitol.

Last week the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a memo projecting a $664 million structural deficit resulting from Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal. About half of that would come from an income tax cut averaging about $83.

Popular as it might be with some taxpayers — $83 would cover a dinner out for two — the budget deficit is not playing well with GOP budget hawks who in backing Walker’s budget cuts and union-busting initiatives two years ago weathered massive protests, legislative rancor and endless taunts from anti-Walker singers.

“It’s ridiculous,” says state Sen. Richard Gudex, R-Fond du Lac. “We went through two years of hell to get to where we are. We’re going to go back into a structural deficit? Absolutely not.”

Gudex is decidedly not alone. On Friday, Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Allouez, told 1150 Newstalk radio in the Fox Valley that a structural deficit makes absolutely no sense.

Sen. Michael Ellis, R-Neenah, also gave Walker’s deficit a thumbs-down.

“I don’t support a structural deficit of $600 million — you can print that,” says Ellis, who was first elected to the Legislature when Walker was still in pre-school. “We fought for 10 years to get rid of the structural deficit.”

Walker contends that revenue growth not factored into the Fiscal Bureau analysis will make up for the shortfall. The bureau will release updated revenue projections in May. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, the Senate majority leader, is apparently hoping those projections will be good enough to wipe out the need for any tough choices.

"Last session, we eliminated Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit by being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money," says Fitzgerald spokesman Tom Evanson. "We remain committed to being good stewards in this budget, and the Joint Finance Committee’s work coupled with May’s revenue estimates should minimize or eliminate this gap.”

Gudex doesn’t want to hang his hat on any optimistic predictions.

“The numbers are never firm, and they’re never real numbers — until they’re actually real,” he says. "I don't want to see a structural deficit, and the Fiscal Bureau's going to have to assure me that there's not."

The anti-deficit senators say they’re not just an isolated faction. Indeed, they say, dissatisfaction with Walker’s proposal is widespread.

“I talk with members of Joint Finance quite extensively,” says Gudex, referring to the Legislature's powerful budget committee, “and they’re all of the same sentiment that we’re not going to be passing anything with a structural deficit unless something astronomically changes.”

Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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(59) comments


Walker wants a tax cut so that he can tell voters in the presidential primaries that he cut his state's taxes. The backlash we're seeing from the Republican state legislators is them pointing out that Walker's goals are different than theirs: Walker is for himself, while the state legislators still have to respond their districts.

Mr Mellow

The GOP legislative will approve Walker's request to borrow a billion dollars for road construction because none of them have the guts to solve the gas tax shortfall (which will only get worse as vehicle mileage continues to improve).

But oh, they are so brave and fiscally responsible when it comes to complaining about how much money it's costs to service the debt on $100M in bonds for DNR land purchases!

Bunker not available
Bunker not available

The best way to get going is to pay bills with pension raids and then give the wealthy a tax break.


Sucker, Republicans!! How does it feel? Walker lies to everyone. Even you.


Isn't it refreshing to hear something other than the usual Resistance is futile from Republican legislators.


I vote for us keeping our 83 bucks and cutting union workers to save the 600 mil.


Seriously, is this a joke.
Let's borrow billions, pay $60 million a year in interest, all to spite the "union" workers.
Have you read the memo, there are no union workers anymore.
Or do you mean further cut the pay of the public employees. Even Walker realizes he can't do that again.


I agree.

Stuck In The Middle With You

You may have to compare Walker to his idol Reagan. Ronnie sparked the economy by cranking up the military industrial machine with no regard to the budget redline while Scotty has only his road building supporters to call on and sell the idea that building roads is good even if our kids have to pay for it later.


Thompson's old base. Tommy probably made a few phone calls for Walker during his lying, dishonest campaign.


Thanks 0bummer!


What does that have to do with the Walker's difficulties with mathematics?


blah blah blah..Democrats, blah blah blah Obama...and all of a sudden it's "Magician Rock Star Scottie" and his disappearing billions, there, I fixed it!


$83----what JOKE! Idea must have come from a JOKER

If you don't want yours I'll take it. The bigger joke is how many liberals complain about a tax BREAK. would you rather it be an increase?


Actually? I would prefer an $83 tax increase. Our state is the laughing stock of the rest of the nation. The Gov and his cronies are playing a shell game with the budget number so it looks like they are doing the opposite of what they really are, Gutting of education and millions given away to corporations that leave the state of cut jobs anyway. Negative job growth from Scooter the fetal-alcohol-syndrome clown.

Soon my family will have saved enough money to move to another state. A state where the conservatives are reasonable, thoughtful, and well-adjusted. Unlike the irrational, hate-filled, blustering wing-nut garbage in this state. Can't wait.

Greg Bell

In late 2009, Sen. Mike Ellis bemoaned that the State had a deficit of $1.5 Billion. Gov. Walker took office in 2010 and claims today, as does Scott Fitzgerald, that they erased a $3.6 Billion dollar deficit and we have a $484 Million surplus. Can someone please explain where Walker gets that $3.6 Billion deficit. It makes Walker a budget cutting wonderkind and presidential material, but the numbers are NOT TRUE, ACCURATE, or BELIEVABLE.


In posts about accurate numbers you shouldn't say things like "Walker took office in 2010". The budget is complicated and the debt statements are even more complicated.

They made great strides forward in shoring up Wisconsin's debt...the proposed budget slightly reverses guess is the budget that passes will keep the line.


It's easy to erase billions of dollars if you don't count the money you have to pay back.


Amen Greg.... Walker did not erase any deficit he kicked the can down the road .... I would like to ask the Gov,,if he had to write a check to completely pay off the Wisc deficit/debt how much would that check be.

remember we are getting $1B less /yr form the Fed for medicaid. He closed that gap and then some.


And...... Scotty you can keep my .2273932 cents a day

listen to yourself. In 2009 it Was $1.6 B. In 2010 it was projected to be $3.6 B. remember in 2010 we got $1B less from the Fed for medicaid.


I suddenly love my Fox Valley area legislators.

High land

Thank you, Mike Ellis for standing up for the people of Wisconsin. Now you can work on the voucher school deal. Hopefully, you will listen to the people of your district and stop this ridiculous proposal by our Gov.


I am suspicious this might be a "good cop, bad cop" ploy. All part of the Right Wing long con that's been in play for several years...

Seriously, how can we trust any Wisconsin Republican legislator after witnessing them undermine and subvert the foundations of our state government? They do not think for themselves- they are small, vindictive, dishonest, and cowardly men and women.

The only way they can begin to make up for what they have done to this state is to resign their positions And that isn't going to happen..


You can start by ending your demonization of any party.


Only when individual parties deserve it.


You might set an example by being critical of Walker and his drones every once in a while.


I have been. There is no politician with whom I have agreed 100%. That is still no excuse for demonizing.

Eileen Wright
Eileen Wright

ellis playing along with good cop, bad cop??? You obviously don't know Mike Ellis, or the rest of the Republicans in the legislature for that matter, who hang their hats on fiscal responsibility.

lyin ryin
lyin ryin

Really? We are not wealthy, middle class I would say. But keep the $83.00 just the same.


awesome photo of Mike Ellis!


Sounds like more cutting...good by me.


Something is not making sense? Walker says we have a budget surplus and proposes giving $83 tax rebate to each Wisconsin taxpayer. Yesterday the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance published an audit verifying Walker's 2013-15 budget has $2.1 billion in deficit borrowing for roads and other spending which will increase our Wisconsin debt total to $15.6 billion.


He proposed adding to the mortgage (debt) - still can be cash positive (surplus).


Standard accounting principles define borrowing money, (mortgaging included) to spend more than revenues coming in, is deficit spending.


What is with the Repubs still thinking they balanced the budget when you can go to almost any site (CNN, Gov't, etc) and see that the budget deficit as reproted by Wisconsin to the Feds is 3.6 Billion Dollars for 2012.

Or maybe I should ask, why do all you Conservatives believe that it is OK to deny facts and refute this? And then they're asking to give a pittance away in the hopes of buying the public's votes instead of 'real' budget reductions?


all budgets are balanced in Wisconsin...they can't pass an unbalanced budget. That doesn't mean we are debt free -- but we are in a much better debt position that in 2011.


Gudex? Our new budget hawk? Good for him, now let's see if he also takes a stand on voucher expansion into his home town of Fon du Lac. Good to see one of the new Senators speaking out.


The money has already been collected. A tax rebate of less than $100 is insane. Such funds should be placed in a holding fund for emergencies. The old men in the legislature are correct and they should ignore the governor on this one.

spooky tooth

Since Walker and republicans took total control of the state they gave 1.53 billion of WI tax payer money to corporations and in return these corporations cut 13,300 jobs. These Not Job Creators charged us $115.037 for every job they cut.

Tax breaks and give-a-ways create negative job growth or Dumb Government Doesn't Create Jobs.

Auto bailout loans created/saved millions of jobs or Smart Government Creates Jobs.

High Speed Rail would have been Smart Government Creating WI Jobs, but we have a Dumb Governor.


We can eliminate any corporate give aways by eliminating the corporate income tax. Consumers pay that tax anyway in the cost of goods and/or services.


Corporate giveaways are not the answer tomtom - sounds like the old trickle down theory


We own the corporations. WRS owns a lot of stock. My IRA owns stock. The corporation is not some entity devolved from society with its own pot of money.



"we" don't own the corporations- "they" do.
the top 10% of the wealth holders in this country own over 80% of the stocks.

the bottom 80% of the wealth holders own less than 9% of the stocks.

and only about half of the population owns stocks- whether thru an ira, or direct investment.


So, by your logic tomtom, if we eliminate corp income tax, a widget costing $9.99 will now drop in price to the consumer to say $9.69? the corporation will take the same profit and pass along the savings to the consumer? Sorry, just not buying into that theory!


Competition and the marketplace control prices and profits. Healthy competition will force the price lower. And WI may even attract some business.

Under our current corp tax code practically ALL corps who are being run well and make a profit are moving off shore. For example: If a company makes $100m in profit and pay 25% tax on that profit they are giving $25M every year to the Government. Meanwhile they also pay 8% VAT tax to get tehir goods into european countires. But if they incur 1 time moving expenses to Switzerland, then they only pay 8% VAT tax period and get a tax credit when they export those same products back TO the USA. So why wouldn't they move??? Meanwhile the only companies who are staying here are the ones who aren't making any profits, so they already owe no tax. We get to keep the losers and are driving the winners...and teh jobs they provided away.

spooky tooth

tt33, Here's a special deal for you and Walker. I'll hire three people at minimum wage and then the state pays me $100,000 each to fire them. You and Walker saved the state $45,111.00

I'll even give Walker $30 for his reelection campaign so its looks like I'm doing the same thing the corporations are doing.

If you want I'll give you the same deal on a 100 employees. Then I'll give Walker's reelection campaign $1000. Once you can get into this game it's really easy to play.


@spooky tooth,

I took your advice the other day and re-read CEO Mike Muino's excellent posting piece, one you seemed to agree with.

If memory serves, he, like tomtom33 advocates for eliminating the corporate tax, as well.

Heavy-handed governmental wage and price controls didn't work before.

Competition and free market capitalism is a good thing, mano. It is the best path to economic freedom, growth and opportunity. We just need to get the major corporations' jobs back to our shores. Then insure they pay their taxes.

Profit is not a four letter word,dog.

Stay tight, vote right.

Good Dog, Happy Man

Having the highest corporate tax in the entire world is still not enough. Through what I'm sure you'd call legal loopholes, corporations effective tax rate is less than mine or Warren Buffet's secretary.


only the "consumers" of a specific company "pays" that company's taxes.
and many companies don't deal with general "consumers", because their business is all B2B.
getting rid of corporate taxes is one of the looniest ideas of the loonies on the right.


Whatever is sold to other businesses eventually winds up being sold to a consumer. A business manufactures machine tools. Those tools are sold to another business that uses those tools to produce widgets. The lower the cost of the tools, the lower the cost to produce the widgets.

Sure the auto bailout "saved: jobs. on the other hand we will always have auto companies so if the old ones went bankrupt new ones would have started and most of those people would have gotten jobs with them. All the bailout did was avoid trillions of stock losses, millions of jobs lost and then other words piles of turmoil and $$ exchanging hands. It was a way to manage this without creating chaos. It also cost the taxpayers thousands EACH. high speed rail was an all around loser. We have no where near the population density to support rail. it would cost us Millions.


I agree regarding high speed rail. With the Airlines about to be narrowed down to 3 mega corporations, prices doubling, no meals less than an additional $8, and $5 for a pillow, things are going to become problematic. Also, the number of cities being served is expected to decrease substantially, as will our choices for scheduling. High speed rail is going to be coming up all over the Midwest except for WI, which will become an inaccessible island and therefore unattractive to businesses, including tourism. But good ole dishonorable, lying, self serving Scottie just thinks he's hot stuff for making the moronic decisions he has made. I'm not even going to comment on the 250,000 jobs promise. Who was he kidding? Oh yeah. The republicans.


Stupid is as stupid does. Really stupid and dumb. Just another chapter out of "Mein Struggle".


I think the Governor is losing his grip on the legislature.


We can only hope nav - sounds like they are actually doing some thinking on their own instead of working in lock-step with the gov


I agree with the Rebublicans, if you want to give the tax payers a break do it once the money is in the bank, not before hand.

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