Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scott Walker didn't just turn down high speed rail. He also turned his back on Wisconsin taxpayers.

When Scott Walker's turned down nearly a billion dollars in federal money for high speed rail and allowed it to go to California, he clearly was so blinded by ideology and political commitments to the Tea Party right that he lost sight of both common sense and simple equity. In particular, he missed an opportunity to redress a longstanding imbalance between federal spending and taxes in Wisconsin. If he really cared about the taxpayer, he would have jumped at this chance to give something back to Wisconsin taxpayers for all their federal tax dollars.

Between 1981 and 2005, Wisconsin paid out billions more in federal taxes than it received in federal expenditures -- like a lot of Blue States, as it happens. In that entire time period, the best Wisconsin did was two years, 1989 and 2000, when it actually received back 90 cents on every tax dollar it sent to the feds. More often, it was in the low 80-cent range. You can check the figures yourself with this database, which starts with Alabama -- a state that, in contrast, in 2005 received back $1.66 in federal spending for every tax dollar it gave the feds. And there are states that do even better. For example, New Mexico got $2.00 back for every dollar it sent the feds in 2004. (Type Wisconsin into the search box and hit enter to get our year-by-year figures.)

Scott Walker would apparently rather keep sending our federal tax dollars off to other states while getting relatively little in return. Nice for other states, bad for Wisconsin. The LA Times probably put it best: Thanks a billion, cheeseheads.

1 comment:

Cybergabi said...

Wisconsin is now regarded as the sitcom star among the states. Good job, Mr. Walker.