This past week, the legislature’s budget committee approved the two-year state budget bill that eliminates Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion deficit. Tough decisions were made to honestly balance the state budget without raising taxes, using accounting gimmicks, or pushing debt off onto future generations.
The budget bill represents a victory in restoring fiscal responsibility and getting our state’s fiscal house in order. The budget bill includes efforts to pay down the state’s debts, dramatically reduce borrowing, and tightening the belt on state spending with across the board reductions.
As we work to enact reforms and reduce government spending, we also seek to protect taxpayers by balancing the budget without new tax or fee increases. Also, the state budget bill includes a provision that freezes property taxes. Without this freeze on property taxes, the Department of Administration estimates that property taxes could rise as much as $736 for the average homeowner over the next two years. Property taxpayers are already stretched to their limits, which is why property tax limits are critical.
Given these difficult economic times, it is necessary to enact reforms that will allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. Putting the taxpayer first means prioritizing spending and avoiding tax increases. Many middle-class families and seniors are feeling the impact of the economic downturn. Any property tax increase, especially a $736 hike, can be devastating and make it difficult for taxpayers to afford to stay in their own homes.
Additionally, the effort to honestly address our state’s budget challenges will improve our credit rating and position our state for job creation. Through an upgrade in our state’s credit rating outlook and with nearly 25,000 new jobs created in Wisconsin since the beginning of the year, we have already seen the positive impact of reform. A recent ranking of state’s business climate saw Wisconsin rise an astounding 17 places, from 41st to 24th among the 50 states.
The budget bill is now available to be considered by the full State Legislature. Please stay in touch by email, phone or my website €“ www.harsdorfsenate.com