Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Doyle's Budget

Owen at Boots and Sabers is all over Governor Doyle's proposed budget, and I'm beginning to see why some of my fellow Wisconsin Bloggers refer to Doyle as "a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC." An $850 million increase?

The most interesting part of the budget is Doyle's attempt to co-opt Republicans' proposed property tax freeze by calling a "freeze" something that is most definitely not.

Basically, he is saying that he will sign a “freeze” on local sending if the State spends more on the local governments. Note that this does not actually decrease spending. All it does is shift more of the burden on the state instead of on the local governments. To a Wisconsin taxpayer, it does not matter whether the tax bill says “State of Wisconsin” or “City of Waukesha.” It’s still the same spending.

It gets worse. In order to fund the increased spending by the state on local governments, he wants to raid the transportation fund. The transportation fund has all of the tax dollars generated by the fuel tax and other transportation related taxes. It is sequestered from the general fund and is supposed to be spent exclusively on transportation infrastructure. (This is part of how they justify the gas tax by saying that only people who buy gas - hence, are driving on the roads - pay for the roads.) If Doyle raids this fund, one has to ask the question, how will we pay for transportation infrastructure? Especially the rebuilding of the Marquette Interchange?

Doyle just wants to shift tax dollars from one pile to another. He isn’t actually doing anything about the exorbitant rate of government spending in Wisconsin. If we move dollars out of the transportation fund, we still have transportation spending to take care of. Will he raise transportation taxes or move money from yet another pile into the transportation fund? Or will he just not complete things like the Marquette Interchange?

Check out Boots and Sabers for good coverage of the budget.


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