We’ve made the case numerous times on this blog that Governor Doyle’s proposed budget uses too much one-time money to balance the state budget. Just yesterday, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated the structural deficit for 2011-13 at $1.5 billion – and keep in mind, that’s with $3 billion in new ongoing taxes added to the rolls.
It seems that some local government officials are starting to pick up on the house of cards Doyle has built. In Madison ( of all places), a school board member has written a criticism of Doyle’s use of one-time money, understanding the peril which awaits school budgets in the future:
One such shell game, according to Christian Schneider, conservative blogger and guest speaker at the WASB Legislative Issues conference, is for Doyle and the Legislature to continue to pull billions out of one budget and plug other budget holes.
“This trap is very alluring,” Schneider says, “especially if the use of non-routine revenues is implemented through a series of complex transfers that are not easy for the general public to understand. In the short term, this allows policymakers to avoid spending cuts. But in the long term, the practice can’t be sustained.”
It’s also bad governance.
Doyle recently urged school districts to remain under the revenue caps as they spend federal dollars. He said, “If they don’t, they’ll face big budget holes in future years and possibly anger homeowners if property taxes go up too much.”
Doyle should take his own advice. A budget dependent on one-time federal money for education and transfers to plug holes in budget gaps is shortsighted at best.
Until state and local leaders, along with the public, advance the conversation on how we fund schools and at the same time achieve educational excellence, we will continue to play the fools for the Bard. Let’s hope it doesn’t end in tragedy.
Of course, quoting me may be the kiss of death in Madison – but at least it shows fiscal responsibility can be an issue shared by both parties.