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.
Since I started writing Conservatively Speaking, I have posted many blogs that the major problem Wisconsin has putting together responsible budgets is that the state taxes and spends too much. I have consistently voted against budgets that raise taxes and fees. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) has released a report that while the economy has played a role in Wisconsin’s fiscal crisis, the state is primarily to blame.The WPRI writes:
“Several questionable budget practices allow Wisconsin to continually spend more than it takes in. First, the state has been filling budget holes in the general fund by pouring in one-time revenues from segregated state accounts, paid for with various user fees. According to state government’s own financial records, from fiscal years 2001 through 2008, a total of $2.373 billion of these one time, non-routine, revenues was used to help the general fund show positive ending balances. Much of this came from the transportation fund, which was then made whole by issuing debt to backfill the hole left by the transfer.
While the current economic recession is to blame for a good deal of state government’s fiscal troubles, the current pattern of the state spending more than it takes in has significantly exacerbated the problem. Even worse, the Governor and Legislature have set aside virtually no budget stabilization funds to ameliorate such downturns – which makes the current recession much more damaging to the state’s finances. While the average state holds between 5% and 10% of their general fund revenues in a ‘rainy day fund,’ Wisconsin keeps less than 1% in such a fund – allowing the state to spend that vital money on other ongoing programs, leaving the state’s finances in peril.”
One solution offered by the WPRI suggests the state should stop spending more than it takes in.
Here is the entire WPRI report.