Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WI Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Proposal: First Reactions

Here are my first reactions to Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal.

Walker talked about the importance of democracy while thousands of people stood locked outside the very public building he spoke, upon his orders. It's these statements that make it difficult to believe much of anything Walker says.

Walker says that our budget deficit is due in part to "accounting tricks" such as financing debt like the $165 million he wanted to finance today.

Why does our education system require reform? Our education system is one of the best in the nation. I also worry about the effect an autonomous UW-Madison will have on the other schools in the UW System. Even though I'm a UW-Madison alumni and want the best for that school, I realize the schools of the UW System provide many great benefits to our communities.

Most of the budget cuts appear to be in education.

Walker continues to threaten layoffs if he is unable to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees. Two or three such deadlines have come and gone. So Walker seems to be use people's jobs as political ploys.

Walker's budget proposes increasing the spending on prisons by removing reductions in sentences for those with good behavior. No matter how you feel about the policy, this has nothing to do with saving money.

More tax cuts for businesses and the rich. The property tax cap won't help middle-class families much, it will mainly help those who pay large amounts of property tax. A 10% decrease in property taxes for someone who pays $2,000 is a savings of only $200 a year, and I don't believe we're looking at a decrease as large as 10%. However, if you pay $20,000 in property taxes, a decrease of 10% is $2,000. We need some experts to tell us where our money is best spent to stimulate the economy, because this isn't adding up for me.

Walker continues to exaggerate the fiscal problems of the state. A look at the finances of other states, especially those without collective bargaining for public employees, shows that Wisconsin is not in that much trouble. Another important fact is that we've seen worse deficits in our state history.

Will someone please tell me how this budget and repair bill will "put us on the path of prosperity?" How does this help our economy? I understand the problem of the state deficit, but our immediate problem is jobs not the deficit.

Where are the jobs?

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