RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) -- Some groups are critical of Governor Scott Walker for passing this state budget Sunday. Governor Walker stopped in Rhinelander Tuesday morning promoting the recently signed 68 billion dollar state budget.
Walker said he disagrees with critics that the budget is skewed to helping the wealthy at the expense of the poor. “Eighty percent of the income tax relief goes to the definition of what (President) Obama used to define the middle-class...the largest rate cut is for people making from $15,000 to $50,000 per year.” Critics said Walker could have helped more poor people by accepting Federal Medicaid dollars which was not included in the budget.
Walker has said this budget covers everyone in poverty without relying on Washington to send the check.
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance said the budget doesn't include enough money for what's called a 'rainy day fund', or money to help state government through lean times. The Alliance says the money was there to fully fund the reserve, but Republicans didn't fund the reserve to it's maximum. Walker says the budget two years from now will end with a 100 million dollar surplus. “The 10-year average of 3.1 percent, that would generate more than $900 million in additional revenue by the end of the biennium so that makes up for the structural issue and there's plenty of money for anything else that comes up along the way."
The tax watchdog group says the legislature discovered several weeks ago that ongoing revenues would not cover ongoing appropriations. The legislators then exempted 2014-15 from a rule saying expenditures have to be below the level of revenue in the second year of the budget. Walker says the extra money will cover the difference.