Madison Office: 122 South, State Capitol  Phone: (608) 266-7745  E-mail: Sen.Harsdorf@legis.wi.gov

Budget Escalates Costs

The civil liability changes proposed by Governor Doyle and modified by the Democratic Majority in the Legislature will increase insurance costs for everyone.

In his budget proposal, the Governor proposed changes to Wisconsin liability laws to reverse tort reforms passed in the 1990’s. These changes would allow individuals with as little as 1% fault in a lawsuit to have to pay 100% of the damages. While the Democratic-controlled budget writing committee raised this level to 20% of responsibility from 1%, the committee also made changes that would allow lawyers to pick and choose who would be included in calculating fault.

By undoing important tort reform measures put in place in the 1990's, liability insurance premiums will escalate. This is especially harmful in efforts to control health care costs. Putting such a policy provision in the budget bill during the midst of an economic downturn is a bad idea that will simply increase the cost of living and doing business in our state.