Finding the Money

John Torinus does a bit of math for us and demonstrates how the legislature can free up a LOT of money.

For the Republican legislators looking for $300 million in the 2017-2019 state budget for road building, there’s a ready solution.

Gov. Walker, who repeatedly gets elected by holding the line on taxes, steadfastly refuses to raise gasoline taxes, and many GOP legislators agree. They are wary of toll roads and probably don’t want to raise car license fees either.

New bonding is already pegged in the budget at $500 million, which would lift state debt to more than $42 billion. It now sits at $7195 per Wisconsin citizen. Fiscal conservatives don’t want to see that number go higher.

So where to find the $300 million, or $150 million per year?

Savings of that much or more are staring them right in the face. The state spends $1.5 billion per year to provide a fat, under-managed health plan for 65,000 state employees. That comes to $23,000 per head.

That bloated number is about $10,000 per employee higher than what best practice private companies and school districts are paying for very full benefit plans. Those payers, all self-insured, deliver generous care – actually better care – for $12,000 to $14,000 per employee.

You can do the math. If ETF were as well managed as the sharpest payers, it could save $650 million per year ($10,000 times 65,000 employees). That is far more than needed for roads.

Just step back and think about that number for a moment… $23,000 per employee for health insurance… even companies who do not self-insure don’t spend that much. There is soooooooo much fat in government.