Letter: Critical of DoyleI was one of the few elected officials in the country who did not submit a wish list for the federal stimulus funds. Politicians are criticizing my skepticism of the “free money” from Washington, arguing that it can help fill the unprecedented budget shortfalls facing Wisconsin.
By: Scott Walker, Milwaukee , Hudson Star-Observer
I was one of the few elected officials in the country who did not submit a wish list for the federal stimulus funds. Politicians are criticizing my skepticism of the “free money” from Washington, arguing that it can help fill the unprecedented budget shortfalls facing Wisconsin.
We can use the funds to create a real stimulus package that builds our economy or continue the failed leadership, dishonest budgeting and fiscal mismanagement that created the shortfalls.
My Blueprint for Economic Prosperity calls on Gov. Doyle to use $3.26 billion of the federal funds to end the state sales tax for the rest of 2009. Imagine the benefit to retailers and others hurt by the recession.
Gov. Doyle claimed that Wisconsin’s $5.7 billion budget deficit was inevitable in light of the national economic crisis. Just look at our success in Milwaukee County to know that Wisconsin’s budget mess was not inevitable.
While Gov. Doyle has run a budget deficit every year, Milwaukee County, where the taxpayers have entrusted me to be their county executive, finished 2007 with a $7.9 million surplus and is expected to end 2008 in the black. We streamlined government services and eliminated county positions to cut costs while still providing core services. We contracted with private vendors to provide better services at lower costs.
Gov. Doyle has led the state of Wisconsin down a very different path. Wisconsin faces the largest deficit in its history after six years of his lack of leadership.
The problem is an insatiable appetite for government spending. According to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state is anticipating tax revenues to fall $1.1 billion in the next biennium. That means that $4.6 billion of the $5.7 billion deficit can be attributed to Gov. Doyle’s spending desires, not the national economic fallout.
Gov. Doyle introduced a budget that uses $2.5 billion in one-time federal money to balance the budget, increased government spending by 10 percent and pays for it by raising taxes by more than $2.1 billion.
Gov. Doyle has it wrong. Raising taxes is not the answer. We need real reforms and spending reductions. Instead of asking working families and struggling employers to balance government deficits out of their own budgets, government should become more efficient and effective, and do it in a way that creates jobs.
Scott Walker, Milwaukee County Executive