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 March 9, 2021



Even the Wisconsin State Journal's cartoonist acknowledges that the two-year budget plan that Governor Tony Evers wants you to pay for is a "liberal wish list."


Let's start with the big picture.  After a year when so many folks were ruined financially, lost their livelihoods or scraped by, the Governor's $91 billion plan places the burden on you to support an increase in government spending by nearly 10 percent (by far the largest increase in 20 years).


The Governor's plan increases general fund state taxes by more than $1 billion.  That figure doesn't count his proposal to double the "Focus on Energy" tax that shows up on your energy bill.  It also doesn't count enabling counties and large cities to double or even triple local sales taxes.


One would think that, surely, such big tax hikes would at least result in a stronger financial position for the state.  Think again.  After a decade of steadily improving financial health, the Governor's plan (according to real-world, gimmick-free accounting practices) would march us once again in the wrong direction and set up a structural deficit to be paid in future years.





After a year when so many families suffered a job loss and so many businesses closed their doors (many of them for good), Governor Evers is hiring.  He proposes to grow government by more than 300 full-time positions.  Among them are 18 proposed new "equity officers" across all the executive agencies.  I presume these folks' job would be to referee each agency's daily operations to make sure everyone is being equitable and inclusive enough.


The Governor's Executive Budget relies on more than $1.6 billion in new borrowing.  Add another $2 billion in new borrowing for building projects.  That too is a recent record high; the next closest amount approved in a budget was the 2009 Doyle budget that approved $3.5 billion in borrowing.


There's all kinds of other stuff that doesn't belong, either.  The Governor would move tens of thousands of people off of private health insurance and into welfare instead.  He wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  He proposed, in this budget request, undoing Act 10, repealing the Right to Work and reinstating prevailing wage requirements.  He wants to modify current law to make references to marriage, spouses and parenting gender-neutral.





Governor Evers knows that all these things and many more are "poison pills" that Republicans cannot agree on or, in some cases, would at least require a public discussion through the regular legislative process.  We're certainly not raising taxes by more than a billion dollars at a time when folks are still getting back on their feet after a terrible year.


Instead, we're going to continue the pro-growth policies and responsible management that defined the past decade.  Based on the state's strong financial position, we'll be looking to continue cutting your taxes rather than raising them.  I am very confident that, just like two years ago, we will write a conservative budget that funds our priorities but blocks the bad ideas that would undo our most important achievements.


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Office of Representative Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
P.O. Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0656
Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov|  |