July 15, 2009
More Spending Not Solution
If it seems like every solution to our economic downturn demands more government spending, it’s because it has. A constituent emailed me this week with the subject line “No More Spending!” He had it right.
Over the past few months, we have seen the federal government multiply our nation’s debt. In Wisconsin, a challenging state budget bill resulted in no reforms to the long-term operational costs of state government. Instead, we were thrown billions by the federal government that allowed the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass a budget with more pork spending, more costly political giveaways, and another $2 billion in job-killing state taxes.
Families are facing economic anxieties in this recession and understand that government can not continue to spend beyond taxpayer means. It is common that I now get calls and emails encouraging the state to reign in spending. Yet, the state budget included over $40 million in earmarks for special projects like $100,000 for a barn in Oconto, $500,000 for an Opera House in Oshkosh, and $46,000 for recycling bins in Wrightstown. These earmarks are testament to the recently passed budget bill not taking our economic situation seriously or using our tax dollars prudently.
So, what steps can Wisconsin take to help save resources? Here are some ideas:
Reform government spending. Provide tools to local government so they can save money €“ such as enabling schools to utilize the state health insurance plan to save hundreds of millions. Change state aid formulas to provide for basic community services, not reward more local spending with more state dollars. Enact zero-based budgeting so that state spending needs are justified.
Increase capacity for energy production. It is time to lift the moratorium on nuclear power, which can provide clean and abundant energy resources for our economic well-being.
Exempt capital gains that are reinvested in Wisconsin jobs. Instead of job-killing taxes, let’s target job creation by encouraging private-sector investment.
Balancing our state budget in a fashion that does not stymie jobs or saddle future generations with spending is going to demand reforms that allow government and families to do more with less.
You can learn more about my ideas to help state job growth, reduce spending, and reform government online at www.harsdorfsenate.com. I welcome your input and exchange of ideas.