Pew Center is wrong about Wisconsin’s financial health

    Editor’s note: Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Michael Morgan made the following statement regarding a report released Wednesday by the Pew Center on States that contains factual errors and uses them to wrongly compare the fiscal situation of Wisconsin to California.

    In no way can Wisconsin be compared to the nation’s most financially troubled states, especially California.

    While Wisconsin has been affected, like all states, by the national economic downturn, we have balanced our budget by cutting spending and raising revenues as needed.

    In addition, recent reports have shown that many other states have large revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year. But Wisconsin does not. The Pew Center report is factually inaccurate. From the outset, the report is fundamentally flawed.

    It is not true that the recession has hit Wisconsin harder than other states. While we have taken hits like everyone else, Wisconsin has fared much better than other states and manufacturing is doing better in Wisconsin compared to our neighboring states.

    While Wisconsin’s unemployment rate increased during the national economic recession, again like all states, it is now improving and is more than two percentage points below the national average of 10.2 percent.

    Finally, the report fails to take into account many of the good budgetary practices of Wisconsin.  For the first time in 32 years, the state’s budget was finished on time. In spite of tough times, the budget the governor signed cut spending from state general fund taxes by 2.5% and includes a $270 million surplus for the period that ends July 1, 2011.

    We have worked hard in Wisconsin to ensure that we can come out of this national economic recession in a strong position.

    Michael Morgan is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

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