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June 26, 2009


Democrats make it final: Over $2 billion tax increase in budget


The final budget bill, negotiated behind closed doors, passed the State Senate 17-15, with all Republicans and one Democrat voting no.   Democratic leadership introduced and passed a two-year state budget that increases spending by $4 billion, raises state taxes and fees by $2.1 billion, leaves the state with a structural deficit of nearly $2.3 billion for the next budget, and borrows another $2.9 billion.


I voted against the budget bill.  Budget bills are about choices and priorities, and there was little doubt that the historic budget shortfall would be challenging.  However, instead of pushing cost saving reform measures that would help property taxpayers and invest limited taxpayer funds wisely, the budget bill includes measures that will put a crunch on school budgets, increases property tax bills by hundreds more, and targets job providers and investors with job-killing tax increases.


The budget includes over 100 earmarks €“ or pork projects €“ that helped get the vote of various legislators for the budget bill.  The earmarks added $50 million to the budget bill!  It is appalling that when families are working to make ends meet and business are struggling to keep their doors open, certain legislators are trumpeting pet projects at our expense.  Non-fiscal policy items were also abundant, and many will now increase the cost of educating our kids, building our roads, and living in Wisconsin.


The taxing and credit card spending in this budget bill are unprecedented.  The budget bill now goes to the State Assembly for passage and then onto Governor Doyle.