Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Finally, Doyle’s promise kept

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This week at the MacIver Institute I did a comparison of the last Doyle budget and the current budget cycle. It looks like the legislature is finally living up to former Governor Jim Doyle’s promise, “We should not, we must not, and I will not raise taxes.”

What a dramatic change in two years. The state budget that was sent to Governor Scott Walker Thursday night is a wholesale reversal of the kind of budgeting under Doyle and the previous legislature.

Under the proposed budget, Wisconsin will actually have a budget surplus of $306 million. The current budget does it without a general tax increase, it freezes local municipal property taxes, and actually lowers taxes overall by $24 million.

Legislators and Walker actually tackle the state’s debt by lowering it nearly $2 billion. When the legislature was told that the state expected $636 million more in revenue than previously estimated, the legislature on a bipartisan vote paid off the more than $200 million owed to the medical malpractice compensation fund.

What the state budget does not do is raid the state transportation fund. Money for the state transportation fund was collected from the taxpayers in the form of gas taxes and registration fees with the reasonable expectation that such money would actually be used for transportation. Under the previous administration that was not the case. However, legislators and Walker again recognize not only the importance of the roads to commerce in this state, but also the importance of taxpayers trusting the state to use the money collected for the intended purpose.

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