Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Fun With Budget Numbers

An insider's take on the state budget and how it was put together.

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Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

The biennial state budget is, in theory, fundamentally about numbers. So here are some numbers from and about the 2013-15 budget as crafted by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature:

Length of the budget bill, as approved by the Legislature, in double-column pages: 603

Total dollar value of the two-year budget bill: $70.1 billion

Portion that comes from the federal government: $19.7 billion, or 28 percent

Amount of general fund appropriations allocated to the state Department of Corrections: $2.3 billion

General fund appropriations to the UW System: $2.2 billion

Number of non-fiscal items in the budget, as initially identified by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau: 58

Number of these items removed by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee: 23

Number added by Joint Finance: 59

Total value of the 25 budget items flagged by the fiscal bureau as “earmarks” — that is, expenditures or breaks with specific beneficiaries: $55 million

Single largest earmark, to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for a Family Justice Center to deal with domestic abuse: $10.6 million

Percentage of the $28.5 billion in general purpose tax revenues in 2013-15 to come from income taxes: 52

Percentage from sales and use taxes: 32

Percentage from corporate income and franchise taxes: 7

Amount of state revenue projected to come from tribal gaming: $53 million

Percentage of the $651 million in tax cuts included in the budget that will go to taxpayers making more than $100,000 a year: 55

Additional amount state taxpayers will pay because of the decision by the Walker administration, backed by the GOP-controlled Legislature, to reject available federal funds for Medicaid expansion, as estimated by the fiscal bureau: $119 million.

Amount the budget will shift from other sources, including local mass transit systems and an environmental inspection fund, to pay for transportation, according to the fiscal bureau: $445 million

Estimated amount of lost revenue over the next two years from a provision to eliminate a $115 contractor registration fee, along with the requirement that construction contractors must register with the state: $1 million.

Amount contributed by “powerful business, manufacturing, construction, transportation, natural resources, health care, road building and real estate interests” to candidates for state office and the Legislature from 2007 to 2012, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog: $53 million.

Amount WDC says groups backed by these “same wealthy special interests” spent on outside electioneering activities to help candidates get elected: $72.1 million

Number of amendments drafted but then not introduced by Assembly Democrats, who felt doing so would be futile: more than 200

Number of amendments offered by Senate Democrats, in some cases joined by a lone Republican, Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center: 54

Number of these amendments, 23 of which were voted on, that passed: 0

Number of line-item vetoes issued by Walker to the budget bill: 57

Amount the state will save from budget provisions barring local governments from 1) requiring their employees to live in the communities where they work; 2) passing erosion controls that are stricter than those in state law; and 3) restricting food and nonalcoholic beverage sales based on calories, portion size or nutritional value: $0

Bill Lueders is the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org). The project, a partnership of the Center and MapLight, is supported by The Joyce Foundation.

The Center collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

One thought on “Fun With Budget Numbers”

  1. Greg says:

    Why didn’t the Assembly Democrats introduce any budget amendments, considering they had already drafted them? I understand that they would not have passed, but wouldn’t it have been beneficial to get people on record as voting against them? What is the thinking there?

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