Research
February 17, 2022 | By MacIver Staff
Policy Issues
State Budget

MI Analysis: 2022 State Of The State Address

The real State of the State Analysis that you will not find anywhere else but here.

As expected, Gov. Evers made his 2022 State of the State address about doling out more government aid to address a long list of problems we supposedly face. Evers tried to make it seem like state government doesn’t spend any money on existing government programs and that only through his leadership and benevolence will Wisconsinites get the government aid and/or help they so desperately need. Literally the only thing he talked about was more government spending, a lot more. The Governor didn’t talk about rise in violent crime, bail reform, the Waukesha Parade tragedy, COVID, dismal K12 proficiency scores, the falling literacy rate, the indoctrination of our children with the racist CRT, the lost year of learning, the true reason for Bidenflation, etc.

Evers didn’t acknowledge that state spending has increased dramatically the last two budgets. During Gov. Evers’ first term, all funds spending has increased 17%. Governor Scott Walker’s first budget spent $66 billion all funds. Walker’s last budget spent $76 billion all funds. Governor Evers’ first proposed budget would have spent $86 billion, the single largest spending increase ever proposed. Remember that budget was pre-pandemic. The Legislature eventually “compromised” at $84 billion all funds and Evers signed it.

Governor Evers’ second budget would have increased spending to $93 billion all funds as proposed. The Republican Legislature passed a $89 billion all funds budget and Evers signed it.

And then you throw on top of all that the unprecedented amount of federal covid aid, $58.2 billion. The staggering $58.2 billion, according to the non-partisan LFB, was sent to Wisconsin governments (state and local), individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

This $58.2 billion in federal aid is more than the State’s annual all-funds budget.

Despite what Gov. Evers is trying to sell you and the mainstream media, no government program, local government or school district is starving or perilously close to running out of taxpayer money. The last three state budgets dramatically increased spending all across the board and when you throw the tsunami of federal COVID on top of the glut of state government aid, government spending has never been higher. Ever.

Gov. Evers began by talking about his upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to him and his wife Kathy. He actually became emotional when he talked about Kathy and we wouldn’t be surprised if he talks about the hallmark again. He then shared a story that he has never shared before. As a young man, he gave up medical school to find a job so he could better provide for pending birth of his first child. But, before he started on a career at the Kohler Company, he received a letter of acceptance to the graduate education program at Madison. He used the refrain “because of that letter…” numerous times to illustrate that things do not always go as planned. Generally, Evers used the refrain to criticize the Republican Legislature. Evers criticized Republicans for not implementing a full government takeover of health care in Wisconsin, for not increasing K12 education funding even more than the historic amount approved by the Legislature, for not addressing PFAFs and for not addressing “justice reform.”

Given how poorly his party’s justice reform efforts are going – no bail, lenient sentencing, defunding the police, the predictable spike in violent crime – it was surprising that he would dare to mention justice reform at all.

It is important note that while he did mention justice reform, he did not talk about rising crime in general or the Waukesha Parade tragedy specifically. Evers’ rabid base believes justice reform means that Darrell Brooks should be out free while facing charges for trying to kill the mother of his children, which of course allowed Brooks to then kill six innocents and injure dozens more at the Christmas Parade. This is a problem for Evers politically. His base will not allow him move away from their soft-on-crime demands. Also remember, Evers told all those demanding stricter sentences and higher bail requirements after the Parade tragedy “to take a breath.” But no mention of those killed or how to prevent it from happening again in the State of the State address? Now, he acts like it never happened.

Evers than turned briefly to the pandemic, claiming that “we worked hard to ensure our workers had jobs to return to after the pandemic.” C’mon. Evers shuts down the economy, closes many businesses. even declared some businesses to be non-essential, and forces everyone to stay at home in order to fight COVID and now he tries to take credit for bringing back the very jobs he killed off in the first place?

In fact, under his Badger Bounce Back (BBB) COVID recovery plan, the entire state would still be under restrictions and our schools generally shut down TODAY because we do not meet all the metrics and requirements in his “recovery” plan. Thank goodness the State Supreme Court recognized his actions were unconstitutional and put a stop his lockdown measures. If your actions close countless businesses and force hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites out of a job, I guess it is easy to take credit when the hard working entrepreneurs finally get back on their feet.

Next, Evers highlighted the federal COVID aid that went to support the expansion of broadband internet across the state. I think most taxpayers would object to using needed covid aid, not on health care, the nursing homes or keeping businesses afloat, but on faster internet.

The Governor next turned his attention to taxes and attempted to take credit for the largest tax cut in state history. See graphic above. The Governor fails to mention that both of his budgets as proposed would have increased taxes by billions and allowed locals to increase property taxes and the local sales tax. Evers did not talk about how he attacked Republicans on the budget-writing committee when they inserted the state’s largest tax cut into the budget or that he called it reckless. Now, in an election year, he takes credit for it. Nor did he mention that he hinted he would veto the entire budget, which has never been done before in the state’s history, because of the tax cut.

In what was clearly a scripted spontaneous moment, Evers’ Democrat Party fan boys in the chamber (Or were they bureaucrats from an agency?) chortled at his “I’m a tax cutter” boast and he ended this segment of the speech by attempting to be folksy with a rehearsed “just sayin”.

Really? The lifelong educrat, who hasn’t worked in the private sector in decades and irons his recently-purchased dark jeans, is just so, so relatable to the Friday night fish fry, beer-and-a-chaser crowd that frequents the local waterhole. Just sayin. In an election year, the Governor is going to break out the Wisconisms. How long before Evers tries to sound like Charlie Berens by starting every sentence with a cripes or ope? Just sayin. You can hear his speechwriter, ‘we really got those Republicans with that tax cutter line!’ What a zinger.

The Governor then talked about how his administration adjusted the tax tables this year to help Wisconsinites “make ends meet.” Again, context is needed and unfortunately the mainstream media will not do their job to provide it to Wisconsinites.

The Legislature included this tax table change in their budget and Evers VETOED the provision out of the budget just so he could try to take sole credit for it when DOR did it administratively at a later date. Kind of pathetic and weak.

Question for the Governor and the media. Why not be bi-partisan here, why not be a leader, why not rise above the petty sniping and give Republicans credit in this one area? Instead, he makes it political again just so he can needle the Republicans.

When you thought the speech could not get any more bizarre, the Governor then blames corporations for inflation and higher prices. Evers lamented the rising cost of groceries and gas without blaming the Biden administration and his reckless fiscal policies. What was the price of gas under President Trump? And now?

Which then lead into the unveiling of his election-year gimmick. With the rising cost of gas, the rising cost of groceries, the supply chain problems, the Governor believes we, state government, must do more for you. The Governor introduced a package of new spending items that would cost over a billion dollars. He pledged to send $150 to every Wisconsinite for a little more “wiggle room.” He promised to spend tens of millions more on child care to reduce barriers to work. He wants to shower hundreds of millions more on education even though K12 education funding has skyrocketed and is at an all-time high. The Governor asserted that the last state budget didn’t invest enough in K12 education and, because of that starvation, the federal covid aid for schools might be in jeopardy. Unfortunately for the Governor, the non-partisan Fiscal Bureau just put out a memo within the last week to ten days that outlines Wisconsin might, depending on several factors, need to put in $10 million more into the formula. Nothing is in jeopardy. Just another election-year gimmick.

Evers announces he will call a special session of the Legislature to consider his election-year spending bribe, er, plan. He then uses his standard refrain – “Let’s do what is best for kids” – to pressure the legislature to act. Conveniently leaves out that his administration pressured local public health authorities and school districts to switch to remote learning, to force kids to wear masks when there is no science or data that supports, or that his administration had no plan to address the lost year of learning. We wouldn’t need to spend more on children’s mental health if he had done the right thing from the start, insisted on in-person on-site education, stood up to the teachers union when they threw a fit about not wanting to do their job. Evers should have insisted on a longer school day with extra instruction in core subjects to catch our kids up, after-school tutoring for those who fell behind and mandatory summer school for those who failed during remote learning. Instead, he let the education establishment screw up our children and now he wants to give the education establishment more money for mental health services to fix our children. Shameful.

The Governor actually said that we have “disinvested in education.” Just a flat out lie and demonstrably false. See the charts below. He is just repeating the same lie over and over again and pandering to his base. Will the mainstream media call him out for this lie?

Once again, Gov. Evers mentioned publicly the suspect “study” that shows our education system has supposedly improved to 8th best in the country. What??!! Just look at the proficiency numbers and the literacy rate below.

Clearly, the Governor is using this misleading and inaccurate ranking to lie to parents that our schools are doing well and life is good. If a Republican tried to get away with something like this, he/she would be crucified by the mainstream media for weeks. For weeks! Here again, this part of his speech is demonstrably false and the fact that the Governor is deliberately trying to mislead the public should be a huge scandal.

Last thing to point out. Evers mentioned that “parents are the first and best teachers our kids have.” We couldn’t agree more with the Gov on this one. However, it is interesting that his comment is completely opposite of what the rest of the Democrat Party believes. Just days ago, Rep. Snodgrass and State Superintendent Underly, both Wisconsin Democrats, admonished parents to stay out of the classroom, to mind their own business and leave the indoctrination of our children to the education establishment. Clearly a schism in the Democrat Party?

More likely, Evers is too scared what might happen to his reelection if he voiced what McAuliffe in Virginia said or agreed with his fellow professional educator Underly. If Governor Evers really believes parents are the best teachers than he will support efforts to post lesson plans online or ban CRT from our schools. Oh, that’s right. Evers already vetoed the CRT ban. Maybe it is just another election-year gimmick?

After about 45 minutes, the Governor finished his speech by inviting the UW marching band onto to the floor to play ‘On Wisconsin.’ Thought for sure the Governor would waltz off the podium by doing the polka with Bucky Badger. Saving that for the campaign commercial, oh, fer sure.

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