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Beyond the Numbers: The Governor’s Budget and You

March 4, 2009

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers.

 Wisconsin has a $5.7 billion deficit.  Governor Doyle’s budget proposal includes a 7.1% increase in spending and $2.2 billion in new tax hikes alone, not including various fee increases.  Among other things, the Governor’s budget request contains $180 million in new capital gains taxes, $311 million in new taxes on high income earners, $258 million in new cigarette taxes and $271 million in higher gas taxes (up to 7 cents a gallon).


 So what does that really mean, anyway?  Sometimes we get all caught up in the impersonal graphs and percentages that we lose track of the fact these numbers impact real family budgets and real jobs.  Here are two real world examples about how Democrat policies are impacting people in our area.


J.R., President of a biotechnology company in Brown Deer, owns one of the high-tech businesses we should be trying to nurture here in Wisconsin.  With a little luck, he thinks his business may be able to expand some day.  Unfortunately, he tells me that the new “combined reporting” business tax the Governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature just created is making him think twice about growing in Brown Deer.  In fact, he is already considering moving his business altogether to a more tax-friendly state.  Especially during a recession, we ought to be doing everything we can to keep those who provide good, family-supporting jobs right here in Wisconsin.


D.D. of Menomonee Falls is worried about a provision in the Governor’s budget proposal that would raise current liability limits for auto insurance.  If this change becomes law, Wisconsin would have the highest mandated insurance limits in the country and people with auto insurance would see their premiums jump $300.  A second, unintended consequence of this proposed insurance mandate would be that the number of uninsured drivers would rise because they could no longer afford their premiums.  The real world consequence for you would be $300 taken out of your family’s budget and more uninsured drivers on the road.


Instead of trying to raise more money with new tax hikes, the state ought to recommit to spending the money it already takes in more wisely by reforming spending, rooting out waste and eliminating ineffective programs.  Instead of plowing ahead with several new government programs, we ought to just say no to new spending commitments.


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