November 29, 2012
Like clockwork, our examination last week of Connecticut—one of the nation’s wealthiest states—turning itself into a debtor’s prison, coincided with news that the fiscal condition of Wisconsin keeps getting better and better.
Estimated revenues for the 2013-2015 biennium are likely to be $1.5 billion greater than previously estimated. That means the state should be able to balance its next two-year budget without great difficulty. Keep that in mind early next year when you see the all-but-inevitable organized protests about heartless “budget cuts.”
The most important point to remember about those things is that they happen regardless of whether anything is being “cut” at all, and are as likely to occur in the face of a spending increase that isn’t quite as big as somebody wanted.
The immediate message is yet another illustration of the practical difference between governance by Democrats and Republicans, made all the more striking by the fact that Wisconsin, per capita, is a state of modest means compared with Connecticut. Wisconsin balanced a budget that was deeper in the hole than Connecticut’s, without raising taxes; Connecticut can’t get itself in order even with tax increases.
There is, of course, the looming cloud of federal regulation about to roll over the entire U.S. economy. It could make Wisconsin’s revenue projections meaningless in a hurry.
That makes us doubly fortunate to have two years of documented comparisons between Wisconsin and Liberal-ruled states since Scott Walker took office, to show us what works, what doesn’t, and why. It’s the kind of knowledge that could come in handy one of these days—if anyone’s still listening.