State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
In order to lower taxes in Wisconsin, one of the highest-taxed states in the nation, there must be reduced spending.
The budget compromise announced Friday night has, according to one of Governor Doyle’s aides who was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, an increase in spending of eight percent. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports the amount of spending in the compromise increases by 6.6 percent. The current rate of inflation is 2.76 percent. Wisconsin will never get a grip on its huge tax problem if it continues to approve budgets with runaway spending.
Wisconsin residents cannot afford this budget compromise. Wisconsin employers project average pay raises of 3.31% in 2008, down from actual increases of 3.39% this year and 3.4% in 2006, according to a survey of 300 companies by MRA-The Management Association Inc. based in Pewaukee.
Governor Doyle’s office has informed the Wisconsin State Journal the compromise leaves the state with an astounding structural deficit of $889-million. When residents in Wisconsin have some of the lowest per-capita income in America and can least afford more spending, it is irresponsible to approve a budget that once again relies on the VISA card.
This budget deal expands an already bloated state government by including items like the cigarette tax increase, Governor Doyle’s Wisconsin Covenant, and an expansion of BadgerCare. It also includes a raid of the Patient’s Compensation Fund.
We are told we are to be happy that after several months of delay, there has been a breakthrough in the budget stalemate. I am sorry but I find little reason, if any, to celebrate.
The idea should never have been to produce a budget just to have a budget. The appropriate end game should have been to secure a budget that is sound and strong and that puts the taxpayer first. Unfortunately, the taxpayer loses in this budget.
The Governor, Democrats, and editorial boards have perpetrated a great hoax on the citizens of Wisconsin. For months, they riled up Wisconsinites by proclaiming Wisconsin didn’t have a budget. This simply was untrue. Wisconsin was working off the 2005-2007 budget. The state continued to operate with an increase in revenue due to the growing economy. The increased revenues are funding state programs and services. There was not a budget crisis and there was not a rush to produce a budget, especially one that increases spending by eight percent.
Finally, this budget episode is a dramatic illustration that elections matter. In November of 2006, voters re-elected Governor Doyle and turned control of the state Senate over to Democrats. Many times in the past Governor Doyle has stated he would not raise taxes. His budget proposals speak otherwise.
Governor Doyle proposed a budget earlier this year that included $1.75- billion in tax and fee increases. Senate Democrats went even higher, proposing a budget that in one proposal alone, government health care, raised taxes by over $15-billion to start, the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
The 2007-09 state budget needed to address the needs of taxpayers, first and foremost. The budget compromise fails miserably. For that reason, I cannot and will not be supporting the budget compromise.