We didn't need more reasons to recall Walker and his cohorts in the legislature, but here they are anyway!...
Decisions by lawmakers in Wisconsin have cost the state well over $1 billion in federal funds, according to a new issue brief by the Wisconsin Budget Project that examines figures from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
According to an October LFB memo, state budget cuts or incomplete funding of state programs meant Wisconsin did not capture an additional $506 million of federal funds that were available over the current biennium. This is in addition to $803 million in two large federal grants, including a grant for high-speed rail, that Wisconsin turned down.
Wisconsin has long been far below the national average in federal spending per capita. Although that has improved somewhat since 2008, Wisconsin was $800 per person below the national average in per capita federal spending in 2010 —the most recent national data available — and ranked 32nd among the states.
See also this report (PDF) from Wisconsin Budget Project: An Initiative of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families: Losing Out: How Wisconsin Surrendered $1.3 Billion in Federal Money
Policymakers claim that the budget shortfall made it impossible for the state to provide the resources necessary to obtain the maximum amount of federal dollars. Yet, the Legislature was able to cut taxes by $210 million over this biennium, mostly benefitting businesses and well-off taxpayers. The Legislature prioritized these tax cuts over investing in Wisconsin’s health care system, job training, and other programs vital to our state’s economic future.
$480.3 million in federal Medical Assistance money
$13.2 million in federal money for job training for the disabled
$8.3 million in federal money for child support enforcement
$4.2 million of federal funds for administration of the Medical Assistance and FoodShare programs
$780 million in federal grant for high speed rail
$23 million in federal grants for broadband in schools and libraries
$49 million potentially for implementation of health care reform
Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo (PDF) provides specifics on the losses. The information was requested by Democratic Assemblyman Peter Barca.
Thanks to Mike Konopacki for another spot on political cartoon.