UPDATE: Budget Balancing For Dummies

Friday, June 19, 2009
The Wisconsin State Journal has the update on this recent blog post ("Budget Balancing For Dummies").

Almost all state workers will have to take furloughs, regardless of whether their paychecks come from the state, federal grants, or private sources, under versions of the budget passed by both the state Assembly and Senate.

Some state workers paid with federal grants, particularly university researchers, argued they shouldn’t have to take the 16 unpaid days off as mandated by Gov. Doyle over the next two years because it wouldn’t save the state money.

An amendment proposed by Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, that would have shielded some of those employees from taking furloughs never made it into the Assembly's budget.

No one proposed a similar amendment in the Senate, making it unlikely that it will be inserted in conference committee, which reconciles the budgets passed by the two houses.

Seems to me that this brain-dead policy choice is completely counter to economic stimulation. By unnecessarily reducing workers' paychecks through a policy that saves the state of Wisconsin $0, how much will the state lose in income tax revenue, retail sales taxes, and the like as a result of this policy aimed solely at 'feel good' public relations?

Also, treating non-state-funded university faculty and staff in this way sorta flies in the face of the retention fund aimed at keeping high-demand faculty in Wisconsin. At best, it's going to create a run on this fund - by slapping UW faculty and staff with the furlough, plus the rescinded salary increases over the next two years. That's money out of the state's pocket.

What was it that Forrest Gump said?