By State Representative, Leon D. Young
As we all know, the November presidential election was both shocking and a bitter pill to take. Republicans literally ran the table on the federal level in Washington, and in state houses across the nation.
State houses refer to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,411 state representatives. The breakdown of chamber control after the November 2016 election is as follows:
•18 chambers controlled by Democrats
• 31 chambers under GOP control
Regrettably, Wisconsin has followed the national trend — in terms of the current makeup of its government. With all three branches, firmly under control, the GOP can impose its ironclad rule virtually unimpeded.
The governor has been hinting, in no uncertain terms, that he intends to run for a third term in office.
This is quite interesting given the fact that his current term doesn’t expire for another two years. And, in another example of putting the cart before the horse, Walker has announced that he will give his annual State of the State address next Tuesday (January 10th), which is considerably earlier than usual.
It should be quite interesting to hear what the governor must say (or wants to avoid saying) about the state of our economy in his address.
New tax collection numbers just released paint a far from rosy picture.
The November tax figures – following on the heels of negative job numbers – suggest several fiscal challenges ahead for our state.
Here are a few key figures from the latest tax data:
- Total tax collections in November were 2.3% below the amount collected in November 2015.
- For the first five months of the current fiscal year, total tax collections are just 1.2% above the total for the same portion of the prior year, and that’s well below what is needed to hit budget projections.
- Sales tax collections, which are a significant barometer of the state’s economic health, are up just 1.0% this year.
- Individual income taxes are up 3.5%, but corporate income and franchise taxes are down 22%
Any way you slice it, this upcoming session has all the earmarks for being a real doozy.
In Washington, the Republican-controlled Congress is already gearing up to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislation.
While closer to home, the Republican majority is planning to repeal Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage law. The political madness is about to begin.