Another promise broken: Why Walker isn't fooling this Republican

Life-long Republican Gary Olson has a gift for elucidating the real reasons we should all recall Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald, and guess what? It has nothing to do with union busting or party politics.  It's about how Walker is using duplicitous accounting techniques to suit his political needs - the same thing he criticized former Governor Jim Doyle for doing and said he'd never do.

This open letter to Wisconsin citizens is Gary's second guest post on Monologues of Dissent.  His first, "Why Wisconsin Can't Afford Scott Walker (or Scott Fitzgerald)," explained why Walker and Fitzgerald's tired claim that they don't like "kicking the can down the road" is just a ruse distracting us from the massive debt we're incurring under their fiscally irresponsible policies.

 Another promise broken:  
Why Walker's magic deficit formula & other budget tricks aren't fooling this Republican
When it comes to the current state budget, I am in awe over how much celebratory emphasis the Wisconsin GOP is placing on the term “balanced” as if it has never been accomplished before in our state’s history. In no way am I trying to be flippant or snarky, but our state is legislatively mandated to balance its budget every two years. It is not a choice to balance the state budget, it is mandated - it is the law. So the next time someone tells you that Governor Walker balanced the state budget, ask them which governor has ever failed to do the same.

If the Legislature fails to approve a biennium budget on time, it is my understanding that the state automatically defaults to the approvals and provisions set forth in the previous budget until a new one can be signed into law. Minnesota was a perfect example of what happens to states that do not have such a provision in place and the government has to shut down until the new budget is approved.

What I find rather interesting about the 2011-2012 state budget is the manner in which Governor Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald are making numerous public claims that they balanced the budget and created a projected surplus to boot. Yet in January of this year Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald discovered that according to federal law, they could not make the cuts that they wanted to make to the states healthcare program for children and low income recipients unless the state had a deficit. Suddenly a rabbit was pulled from the hat and state officials certified to federal government officials that under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the state will have a deficit. 

In other words, Governor Walker used the accounting principle of “Cash Basis” accounting, to show the public that the state budget was balanced. But then in order to get what he needed from the federal government, Governor Walker used GAAP to show a state deficit. Governor Doyle played similar games with the two different accounting principles as well, but as a gubernatorial candidate I thought that Scott Walker criticized Jim Doyle and the Democrats for doing this. I truly thought that Governor Walker was going to bring an end to such tactics of accounting trickery. Clearly I was wrong in that assessment.

I tried not to rip on Governor Doyle just because he was a Democrat, but I certainly cannot accept the same or worse by Governor Walker just because he is a Republican. Nor can I excuse Senator Fitzgerald for supporting such shenanigans. This is truly embarrassing to Wisconsin and to my Republican beliefs. Neither of the two are showing me that they are very believable, and that is a very sad way to feel towards publicly elected officials of their positions.

Gary Olson
Lake Mills

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