Calling an increase in spending or funding a ‘cut,’ just because it isn’t as much as someone proposed, is a textbook example of “Madison Math.” In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot about the Assembly version of the budget and a good portion of the criticism will be false claims that our version cuts our most important programs. For example, you’ll hear that the Assembly budget cuts funding for the UW system and K-12 education. Both of these claims are patently false. In fact, the Assembly version of the budget increases spending on K-12 education by $464,404,400 ($16 million more than Governor Doyle proposed). And the UW system receives a $62.3 million increase above their funding level in the last budget, but yet you will hear cries of ‘cuts’ to the UW system simply because they were offered more in the Governor’s and Senate’s versions of the budget.
K-12 spending increases annually. The debate is always over the amount (and sometimes the source such as the redistribution of income, sales or property taxes) of the increase. The current state of Wisconsin Budget is $54,268,817,100. Senate Democrats proposed a new budget of $66,106,668,800 while Assembly Republicans proposed spending $56,336,765,800 in the next budget cycle. TJ Mertz has more on the proposed state budget here and here.