Boots & Sabers

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0741, 15 Dec 20

Make Wisconsin a destination state

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I continue to charge the windmill of Wisconsin government’s spending problem. Here’s a part:

Wisconsin cannot reduce the cost of government and, subsequently, the cost of living if it does not reduce government spending.

One wonders where all of that spending is going. Both states have world-class public universities, but Texas state taxpayers spend less than 50% per capita on them. Both states have a good transportation infrastructure, but Wisconsin state taxpayers spend 13.8% more per capita. Wisconsin is spending almost 28% more on K-12 education for marginally better results, but the student demographics are drastically different.

Generally, as one goes through the state budget, Wisconsin spends much more on almost everything than other states. It is difficult to see any additional value for all of that additional spending. “Value” should be the word that dominates the upcoming state budget debate. If taxpayers are going to spend 10%, 25%, or 50% more on something than other states, then state politicians should be able to articulate how taxpayers are getting 10%, 25%, or 50% more value for the dollars spent. If they can’t, then the spending is just being wasted.

The upcoming budget session is another opportunity for Wisconsin policy-makers to make the choices that will determine if Wisconsin will ever be a destination state for businesses and workers. If they choose to keep increasing spending because it is the path of least resistance, then businesses and people will continue to relocate into other states and Wisconsin will miss this historic opportunity when businesses are going to be moving more than ever.


0741, 15 December 2020


  1. Mar

    With the exception of the sales tax, Wisconsin has much higher taxes than Texas, especially the income tax.
    Why would a business relocate there as opposed to Texas?
    Now, if Californians keep moving to Texas and bring their liberal politics with them, that may change in the near future.
    Liberals destroy everything they touch.

  2. MaxwellsEQs


    It would be better to focus on eliminating waste and corruption than focusing on cutting spending.

    Liberals are more likely to be employed by the government and feel threatened by decreased spending as this may lead to decreased wages.

    While no one likes paying taxes, for some reason Conservatives believe that cutting taxes is some economic panacea.

    Combating waste and corruption is something that people on all sides of the political spectrum can work on together.


  3. Owen

    Politicians have been promising to get rid of waste and corruption for as long as I’ve been alive. I believe that they don’t do it because it helps feed the machine. Government spending and corruption are correlated, but you have the relationship backwards. We don’t have too much spending because there is corruption and waste. We have corruption and waste because there is too much spending.

    Personally, I have a fundamental belief that taxes should be as low as possible while still supporting the necessary functions of government. I believe that money in the hands of individuals will be better spent than money in the hands of politicians. We can’t reduce taxes over the long term without lowering spending (short term spending increases can be supported by debt, but over the long term taxes must rise to spending).

    It really becomes a matter of tactics. I would love to think that politicians and bureaucrats would look for efficiencies, waste, corruption, etc. to be able to lower their spending. The reality is that such behavior is contrary to base human nature, which is why it never happens. But if we cut spending, those same people will find a way to squeeze out waste to make sure they can pay for what’s important. This tactic is used in private industry all the time and it is effective. The trick is to not cut too much that it harms critical functions, but I would posit that that it would take a gruesomely deep cut to get all the way through the government fat and hit muscle.


  4. Mar

    “Liberals are more likely to be employed by the government and feel threatened by decreased spending as this may lead to decreased wages.”
    Well, I agree with you that more liberals are employed by governments.
    Swamp creatures.
    And if they have to pay for some of the benefits they receive, so be it.
    They could also lose their jobs.

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