Will Congress Act This Week to Save Thousands of Jobs?

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 6:17 PM by

If you got a copy of the Sunday New York Times or read it online, you may have seen this September 26 headline: “Job Loss Looms as Part of Stimulus Act Expires.” The article concerns a portion of the Recovery Act funding that has been used to help low income families in a variety of ways, including providing funding to initiate or expand subsidized private sector jobs that are designed to enable unemployed parents to move from welfare to work.

Wisconsin is one of the many states that will be adversely affected if Congress doesn’t act quickly to extend this funding, which is referred to as the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) and is scheduled to expire on September 30.  The last hope for extending it is to include an additional year of funding in the Continuing Resolution that Congress needs to pass this week to keep the federal government from grinding to a halt. Read more

Categories: Blog, EITC, jobs, Recovery Act, TANF, W-2 | Comments Off on Will Congress Act This Week to Save Thousands of Jobs?

Economist Estimates Two-year $3.1 Billion Wisconsin Deficit

Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 2:57 AM by

A short paper released Wednesday by Professor Andrew Reschovsky, an economist at UW-Madison’s La Follette Institute, explains that a conservative estimate of the structural deficit in Wisconsin’s next biennium is $3.1 billion. That figure approximates the gap between revenue and spending in 2011-13 if one assumes 3 percent per year revenue growth and modest increases in spending to maintain current services. It represents a shortfall of about 10 percent of projected spending needs.

A Journal Sentinel article by Jason Stein does a nice job of explaining the report’s findings and the reactions of the gubernatorial candidates.

For any of you who have a desire to understand the differences between the various sorts of deficit figures that tend to get thrown around, let me provide a quick tutorial regarding three of the ways that one can calculate the budget gap for the next biennial budget:

  1) The “structural deficit” is a calculation made occasionally by courageous people like Professor Reschovsky who are willing to stick their neck out and make assumptions about revenue and spending growth. Read more

Categories: 2011-13 biennial budget, Blog, spending | Comments Off on Economist Estimates Two-year $3.1 Billion Wisconsin Deficit

State Agency Budget Requests

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM by

Finalization of the 2011-13 Wisconsin state budget is likely nearly a year away, but it is already time for state agencies to make their budget requests. The Wheeler Report has gathered the state agency budget requests that have already been published and the list is below. New state agency budget requests are added to the Wheeler site as they are released.

You can also brush up on the budget instructions that Governor Doyle sent the agencies back in July, which called for most agencies to assume zero growth in overall GPR appropriations in the 2011-13 budget.

State agency budget requests
Lt. Governor
UW System
State Treasurer Read more

Categories: 2011-13 biennial budget, Blog, spending, taxes | Comments Off on State Agency Budget Requests

Finance Committee Approves Use of Additional Recovery Act Dollars

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM by

In a very brief meeting today, the Joint Finance Committee approved four requests by the Governor, totaling about $23.6 million, for the use of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Each of these very brief descriptions links to the relevant Legislative Fiscal Bureau paper describing the Governor’s recommendations:

Jon Peacock,
Budget Project Director

Categories: Blog, jobs, Recovery Act | Comments Off on Finance Committee Approves Use of Additional Recovery Act Dollars

Census Bureau Releases New Poverty Data

Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 8:08 PM by

Today the U.S. Census Bureau updated its Current Population Survey (CPS) dataset with new information on poverty, income, and health insurance. As was widely expected, there’s been a large jump in the number of Americans living in poverty. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families has done some rapid-response number crunching since the dataset was released this morning, and has already issued a press release. Here are some of the highlights:

• The national poverty rate jumped from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% last year, the highest national poverty rate since 1994. The child poverty rate rose from 19.0% to 20.7%.

• The overall poverty level in Wisconsin in 2008-09 was 10.3%, which does not represent a statistically significant change from the 10.6% rate recorded in 2006 07. (For state-level analysis of CPS data, two-year averages are used to increase reliability, but the averaging may conceal state-level growth in poverty.)

• Median household income in the state in 2008-09 was $51,122, a decrease of $2,896 from 2006-07 and down $6,351 from 1999-2000. Read more

Categories: Blog, EITC, federal issues, poverty, Recovery Act, refundable tax credits, unemployment benefits | Comments Off on Census Bureau Releases New Poverty Data

Do You Like the Wisconsin Budget Project? Really Like Us?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 7:16 PM by

It may sound insecure, but we’re hoping you like the Wisconsin Budget Project — on Facebook, that is. The Wisconsin Budget Project has joined the rest of the world in getting a Facebook page. Visit the page and “like” the Wisconsin Budget Project and you can get news about state fiscal policy, updates on budget actions, and news about Budget Project releases in your Facebook news feed.

Click here to go to the WBP Facebook page. Read more

Categories: Blog | Comments Off on Do You Like the Wisconsin Budget Project? Really Like Us?

Senate Vote Tuesday on Eliminating $17 Billion Revenue Source for Health Care Reform

Monday, September 13, 2010 at 6:55 PM by

An amendment that will be voted on Tuesday in conjunction with a small business bill would undo one of the revenue sources for health care reform, requiring $17 billion of cuts in public health, prevention programs and insurance coverage. The revenue raising measure that the amendment would repeal broadens a requirement for businesses to report payments to vendors of $600 or more, thereby discouraging the underreporting of income by vendors. The expanded reporting requirement is expected to increase tax revenue by $17.1 billion over the next ten years by improving the ability of the IRS to keep track of business income.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on an amendment by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) that would repeal the reporting requirement, and significantly weaken the health care reform law in the process. The Senate is also likely to vote on an alternative offered by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), which would significantly scale back the tax provision to reduce its scope and its paperwork requirements, but would make up for the lost revenue by reducing excessive tax subsidies and loopholes for oil companies rather than undermining health care reform.   Read more

Categories: Blog, health care reform, income taxes | Comments Off on Senate Vote Tuesday on Eliminating $17 Billion Revenue Source for Health Care Reform

New Data Shows Wisconsin Still Has a Lean Public Sector

Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 3:52 PM by

Wisconsin continues its decade-long trend of having fewer state and local employees than the national average, according to a new issue brief by the Wisconsin Budget Project. The analysis is based on U.S. Census Bureau data and shows that Wisconsin has 51.8 state and local government employees (FTEs) per thousand residents, 4.4 percent below the national average of 54.2 FTEs. Wisconsin ranks 38th in this measure nationally, meaning only 12 states have fewer state and local government FTEs per capita.

Wisconsin is also lower than the national average in payroll spending for government employees. The per capita spending for payroll for all state and local employees in Wisconsin was 8.7 percent below average and ranked 30th. The payroll per FTE was 4.5 percent below the national average, although Wisconsin was above the median on that measure, ranking 21st nationally.

The total number of state and local government employees (FTEs) in Wisconsin grew slightly between 2008 and 2009, with the biggest growth in the technical college system. Read more

Categories: Blog, public employees, Recovery Act | Comments Off on New Data Shows Wisconsin Still Has a Lean Public Sector

New FY 2010 Tax Totals Are Right on the Money, Thanks to Corporate Profits

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:06 PM by

The Department of Revenue (DOR) has posted new estimates of General Fund tax collections in fiscal year 2010, which ended on June 30. Amazingly, the latest figure is within less than one one-hundredth of a percent of the January 2010 projection by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (trailing that estimate by just $411,000).  On the other hand, the amounts generated by particular types of taxes vary greatly from the January projections.

The specific tax figures reinforce other evidence that corporate profits are rebounding faster than expected, but businesses haven’t been plowing those profits into hiring and payroll. As a result, individual income taxes and sales tax collections trailed the projected amounts, while corporate income taxes were much higher than expected.

Here are the changes (in millions) between the actual tax revenue and the January projections:

Individual income tax            – $65.8 M   (-1.1%)
General sales and use tax       -70.8 M   (-1.8%)
Corporate income tax           +134.5 M   (+19.2%)
Public utility tax                       -2.8 M   (-0.9%)
Excise taxes                            -3.0 M   (-0.4%)
TOTAL                                    -0.4 M   (-0.004%)

The total FY 2010 taxes are only $18.5 million (or 0.15%) above the General Fund tax revenue in FY 2009 – notwithstanding the tax increases contained in the 2009-11 budget bill. Read more

Categories: Blog, corporate tax, income taxes, sales tax, taxes | Comments Off on New FY 2010 Tax Totals Are Right on the Money, Thanks to Corporate Profits

There’s a New Website in Town

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 3:15 PM by

There’s actually two new websites in (cyber) town that we wanted to draw your attention to, both offering information and analysis about stimulus funds spent in Wisconsin.

The first is a brand new section of the Wisconsin Budget Project website devoted solely to Recovery Act issues. The information on this new page ranges from two-paragraph blog posts to in-depth papers. Whether you’re looking for updates about direct benefits in Wisconsin or details about additional FMAP dollars flowing to the state, this is a good place to start.

(While you’re at the Wisconsin Budget Project website, you should check out the wealth of other material there, including recent briefs on education spending in Wisconsin, and the number of manufacturing jobs in the state compared to the number of government jobs. And don’t forget our famous Tax Ranking Quiz!)

The other new website that we’re excited about is wisrecovers.org, a project of the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future. Read more

Categories: BadgerCare Plus, Blog, Recovery Act | Comments Off on There’s a New Website in Town