Boots & Sabers

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Owen

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0937, 06 Aug 22

Wisconsin’s opportunity for another turn of the conservative revolution

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week:

With the primary election a week away, most primary voters have made up their minds. Many of them have already cast their votes. In the Republican primary for governor, the voters are blessed with three great choices. Any of the three candidates would be a solid governor and far superior to Gov. Tony Evers. I continue to strongly think that Rebecca Kleefisch is the best choice both in terms of her ability to defeat Evers and her ability to move the conservative agenda as governor, but I can’t fault any Republican primary voter for making a different choice.

 

Whichever Republican makes it to the general election stands a good chance of winning in a red wave year. Should that occur and should the Republicans retain control of the Legislature (they should), it is another opportunity to move bold conservative ideas like the Republicans did in Governor Scott Walker’s first term. There are three big agenda items that the Republicans should pass in the first 100 days.

 

First, the Republicans must pass universal school choice. The pandemic taught us that when push comes to shove, too many of our government schools will abandon their duty to education. The educational destruction wrought upon Wisconsin’s children by negligent government school administrations will reverberate through the rest of their lives. Couple that with the pervasive Marxist indoctrination that is seeping into much of the curriculum, and it is time for change. Universal school choice will allow parents to find the best educational option for their children. Universal school choice is based on the premise that the taxpayers have a duty to educate kids — not sustain failing government institutions. The tax dollars that are spent to educate children should follow the children and trust parents to make the best choice for their own kids. A Universal school choice law should be very simple. Every child should get a voucher for the amount that would have been spent by state taxpayers on that child’s education and any accredited school the child attends can cash that voucher. Trust parents. Let us focus on funding education instead of government bureaucracies.

 

Second, Republicans should eliminate the state income tax. Instead of tinkering with the formulas and tweaking the exemptions, they should be bold and eliminate it outright. They can balance the elimination with a modest increase in the sales tax and aggressive spending reductions. This is a necessary step for Wisconsin to attract and retain the workforce of the future.

 

Nine states do not have a state income tax. It is no coincidence that five of them were in the top ten states with the largest net population growth in the last 12 months according to the U.S. Census. In an increasingly virtual workforce where high-income workers can live anywhere, they are choosing to live in states where they get to keep more of the money they earn. The sales tax, like other consumption taxes, is a tax that spreads the tax burden more evenly. Even highnet- worth people who do not currently earn an income have to pay the sales tax. For Wisconsin to attract the mobile, highincome earners to live and work in Wisconsin, they must be aggressive in making it financially attractive to them.

 

Third, Republicans must swiftly reform the state’s election apparatus. Hopefully everyone can agree that we want a state where it is easy to vote legitimately. When the people lose confidence in the integrity of our electoral process because it is riddled with inconsistent rule enforcement, obvious opportunities for fraud, and the outright illegal actions of government officials, the government loses the justification of having the consent of the governed. It is a republic-killing crisis.

 

For the most part, Wisconsin’s election laws are good. There may be a need for minor tweaks like uniform early voting laws, but as written, Wisconsin should have some of the fairest, easiest, and securest elections in the nation. Where it breaks down is that it is being administered by activist officials and a dysfunctional enforcement apparatus. Republicans should abolish the Wisconsin Elections Commission and replace it with a bicameral bipartisan legislative committee comprised completely of elected officials. Elections are how the citizens hold government officials accountable.

 

The transformative Walker administration reminded us what bold conservative leadership looks like. Whoever the Republican nominee is, conservatives’ expectations are rightfully high for them if they win a term in the big chair.

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0937, 06 August 2022

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