June 5, 2009
Budget Bill Needs Overhaul
The budget bill as passed by the Democratic-controlled budget-writing committee is reckless. The common criticism is that this budget bill will cost Wisconsin taxpayers billions, but the most alarming parts of the budget bill extend beyond tax increases.
The budget bill has been loaded up with provisions that have nothing to do with the state’s budget, but will most certainly affect our lives. It includes new rules that will dramatically increase the cost of auto and liability insurance, changes to allow illegal immigrants a driver license and discounted tuition, giveaways to political supporters that will escalate the costs of education and local government services, and new restrictions on public access to stewardship lands that are a setback to hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
Some Democratic State Representatives have raised concerns about the consequences of the bill put forward by the budget writing committee. Example number one deals with the rhetoric for years that we should “tax big oil” and prohibit them from passing tax increases onto consumers. This rhetoric has been used for years. Democratic leadership is now indicating that they may have to allow the pass through to consumers for the new tax they want in order to stand up in court. The argument that you could tax oil revenues and not have these taxes passed onto consumers through higher gas prices is simply disingenuous.
Thankfully, State Representative Bob Ziegelbauer (D €“ Manitowoc) is proposing amendments to remove some of these policy provisions. This is a step in the right direction. Short of a big overhaul to this budget bill, Wisconsin citizens will face increased auto insurance premiums, higher health care costs and gas prices, less government services for their tax dollar, and less access to publicly purchased stewardship land.
My new web blog will track the daily changes to the budget. You can visit it online at www.harsdorfsenate.com. There you can also send me your input and questions. Citizen input can help shape the budget.