Tag Archives: Tony Evers

Evers Throws Shade at GOP Bill Without Reading It

That’s how it’s going to be, eh?

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signaled skepticism of a bill lawmakers are advancing that requires health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions on some — but not all — health plans.

“My point is it’s important that whatever passes the Legislature has to be equal to or better than what exists at the federal level,” Evers told reporters Tuesday, but noted he had not yet read the bill.

Wisconsin No Longer “Open for Business”

Mark Belling broke this story, but it is a jarring signal that one of Evers’ first acts as governor was to strip the state welcome signs of the “open for business” message.

WFRV – On the borders of Wisconsin, the “Open for Business” signs that use to hang on the Wisconsin Welcomes You signs were removed, and one State Senator is now asking for them back.

State Senator Dan Feyen, of Fond du Lac sent a letter to Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan asking that the signs be sent to Feyen’s office where he says “would be happy to find places to display the signs in my office and district office to let our business community know that we are still “Open for Business.”

Feyen said he heard reports that the signs were removed on Monday.

“I ran for office to be a champion for economic development and workforce development and I will continue to be a leader advancing policy that is good for business in Wisconsin. If our small businesses succeed, we all succeed.”

Evers Floats Making 1st Time Drunk Driving Offense a Felony

In a wide-ranging article by the Associated Press comes this little gem.

Evers told WISC-TV that he’s open to criminalizing first-offense drunken driving, something he also said during the campaign. Wisconsin is the only state where a first offense is a traffic infraction and not a crime.

“We have to find ways to make that first offense more meaningful to the offenders so they don’t offend again or don’t offend the first time,” Evers said. “Whether that’s making it a felony or not, I’m not sure.”

There are a lot of folks who think that Wisconsin should criminalize a 1st time drunk driving offense, but I haven’t heard anyone suggest that it should be a felony. So Evers would put someone in prison, deprive them of their vote, and make them marginally employable for the rest of their lives for a first time drunk driving offense? That’s pretty harsh.

Of course, if you read the whole article, you will realize that Evers says a lot of wacky stuff with little thought behind it. His statements reveal that he has little grasp of how state government actually works and has not invested much thought in many issues. Does he know the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? How does he reconcile criminalizing 1st time drunk driving offenses with reducing the prison population?

No. I suspect he just says stuff without the burdensome process of thinking.

 

Evers to Appoint DPI Chief

Whatever. Elections are for suckers.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers plans to appoint Carolyn Stanford Taylor as state superintendent, his Department of Public Instruction announced Thursday.

Stanford Taylor, who currently oversees DPI’s Special Education Team, will officially be appointed on Jan. 7 after Evers is sworn in as guv, per the announcement.

Evers had the option to call a special election to fill the seat. But by making the appointment, Taylor will fill out the remainder of Evers’ term, which ends in April 2021. DPI noted that option was last exercised after Superintendent Herbert Grover resigned in 1993 and then-Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed former Gov. Lee Dreyfus to lead the agency.

Evers begins to stock his cabinet

Here’s my full column from the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Governor-elect Tony Evers is deep into his transition to power and has begun to announce his choices to fill his cabinet. While none of the picks are surprising, they do confirm the kind of governor that Tony Evers intends to be.

To run the Department of Administration, Evers has chosen Joel Brennan, the CEO of the Milwaukee’s Discovery World Science and Technology Museum. Brennan is an old Democratic operative who previously ran Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaigns for governor and mayor. Brennan’s brother-in-law is also a co-chair of Evers’ transition team. Brennan’s deep roots in Wisconsin’s Democratic political structure will put a firm stamp on the Department of Administration.

Evers has chosen Preston Cole to run the Department of Natural Resources. Cole currently works as the commissioner of neighborhood services under Mayor Tom Barrett and has been a member of the DNR’s board since 2007. Garnering praise from Governor Scott Walker, Cole has a degree in forest management and a long history of involvement with environmental management.

Sara Meaney has been chosen by Evers to run Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism. Meaney currently works as the chief marketing and development officer at Milwaukee Film. Meaney has a background in Milwaukee’s arts community and is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Evers has picked Kevin Carr to serve as secretary of the Department of Corrections. Carr is a United States marshal who previously worked for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years.

Brad Pfaff has been selected to run the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Pfaff is another old-time Democratic political insider who worked for Congressman Ron Kind, U.S. SenatorHerb Kohl, as a political appointee in the Obama Administration, and has run for state office as a Democrat in the past.

Evers has chosen Rebecca Valcq to chair the Public Service Commission. Valcq is a lawyer and partner at Milwaukee’s Quarles and Brady law firm. She also spent 15 years working for We Energies as a regulatory attorney.

Mark Afable is to be Wisconsin’s insurance commissioner, pending Senate confirmation. A graduate of Marquette Law, Afable is currently the chief legal officer for American Family Insurance in Madison.

Evers’ most controversial Cabinet choice to date is for Craig Thompson to run the Department of Transportation. Thompson is the executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. In that role for the last decade, he has been a vocal and aggressive lobbyist on behalf of road builders and unions to spend more money on transportation. Thompson’s selection is the strongest signal yet that Evers will push for a massive increase in spending, and the taxes to fund that spending, in the next budget.

Each of Evers’ cabinet choices will have to meet the approval of the Wisconsin state Senate, which remains firmly in Republican control. Under the new rules signed into law a couple of weeks ago, a cabinet appointee who fails to receive confirmation by the Senate will not be allowed to continue to serve in that office or be reappointed. As such, Evers will need to work with the Senate majority to ensure that his choices will gain approval.

In looking at the list of Evers’ appointments so far, one thing really sticks out. Except for Pfaff, every appointee is from Milwaukee or Madison. This makes complete sense when one considers how Evers won the election. His narrow victory was thanks to overwhelming liberal turnout in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The Democratic power base is increasingly concentrated in these two counties, so it stands to reason that a Democratic administration would be filled with operatives from these geographies.

The political divisions in Wisconsin, like in the rest of America, are increasingly along the lines of rural vs. urban instead of left vs. right. At least for the next four years, Wisconsin’s urban interests are going to be in control of the executive branch.

Evers begins to stock his cabinet

My column in the Washington County Daily News this week is about Tony Evers and his cabinet choices. Here’s a little piece.

In looking at the list of Evers’ appointments so far, one thing really sticks out. Except for Pfaff, every appointee is from Milwaukee or Madison. This makes complete sense when one considers how Evers won the election. His narrow victory was thanks to overwhelming liberal turnout in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The Democratic power base is increasingly concentrated in these two counties, so it stands to reason that a Democratic administration would be filled with operatives from these geographies.

The political divisions in Wisconsin, like in the rest of America, are increasingly along the lines of rural vs. urban instead of left vs. right. At least for the next four years, Wisconsin’s urban interests are going to be in control of the executive branch.

Public input on the next state budget

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. I don’t have any illusions about Evers actually listening to my view, but he asked for public input…

Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes have announced they will hold four public listening sessions before Christmas to get the public’s input on the upcoming state budget. The four sessions will be today in Green Bay, Wednesday in Wausau, Dec. 18 in La Crosse and Dec. 19 in Milwaukee.

Since all four sessions begin during working hours and, like most tax-paying Wisconsinites, I work for a living, I will not be able to attend and give the incoming administration my thoughts in person. This column will have to suffice.

As the Legislature and governor begin the process of crafting the next state budget, they must do so with the understanding that Wisconsin is not immune from the economic winds blowing across the nation. While the underlying economic metrics remain strong, several leading indicators, including the wild movements in the stock market, foretell a looming recession within the next year or two.

Since Wisconsin uses a biennial budget, it is likely the next recession will come during the budget our elected officials are about to write. They must write that budget understanding recessions always lead to a decrease in state tax revenue while making higher demands on state services like welfare and Badger-Care. To that end, the overriding objective of the next state budget should be to reduce spending, reduce taxes and continue to pump money into the state’s rainy day fund, because rainy days are in the forecast.

From a revenue standpoint, the state of Wisconsin is in great shape. Thanks to the series of tax cuts that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators have delivered over the past few years, tax revenue is flowing into state coffers at historic levels. There is no shortage of money for politicians to spend.

While the Republicans have done a tremendous job in the previous few budgets, they have failed to reduce spending. Despite claims to the contrary, every single state budget for the last generation or more has spent more than the previous budget. Granted, the Republicans did not increase spending as much as the Democrats wanted to, but they increased spending nonetheless.

The vast majority of state spending is spent on a handful of budget priorities. One cannot seriously reduce spending without looking to the big budget items. The first area Evers and the Legislature should look is at education spending.

In the previous state budget, the state massively increased state spending on K-12 education. The data continues to show that once fundamental needs are met, spending more money on schools does not improve educational outcomes for the kids. Smarter spending does. The state should reduce overall spending on K-12 education while helping local districts develop more focused curricula through the Department of Public Instruction. The goal should be to use data-driven initiatives to improve actual outcomes. The goal should not be to see who can spend the most money.

Furthermore, the most recent state testing data shows that Wisconsin choice schools are outperforming government schools, and they do so for a lesser cost. The next state budget should further expand school choice to push money and kids to schools that provide better outcomes for those kids.

The other large state education expense is the UW System. Here again, the state should reduce state spending to force the needed reforms that UW officials refuse to take. Enrollment is in steep decline across the UW System except for their flagship university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Yet the campuses are still overbuilt and there are too many of them for too few students. The state budget should reduce UW spending, continue the tuition freeze, and encourage the UW regents to consolidate and streamline the system’s structure.

The next state budget should also move the Wisconsin Retirement System from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. Even though the WRS system is one of the few solvent state pension funds, a few years of bad decisions could change that and force the state into a miserable state like Illinois. Wisconsin should get ahead of the curve and give government employees a retirement plan more in line with what the vast majority of taxpayers have. Not only would this have the benefit of erecting a backstop against budgetary ruin, but it would encourage a healthy turnover of government employees who are not wedded to their pension.

The next state budget should also cut transportation spending and enact reforms to get more “road for our buck.” Some of the reforms in the bills passed by the Legislature last week take positive steps in this direction. Other Midwestern states manage to spend far less than Wisconsin per mile of road and have higher quality ratings. Now that the megaprojects in southeast Wisconsin are nearing completion, Wisconsin needs to rein in spending.

I could go on for another dozen columns. The state budget has no shortage of unnecessary or wasteful spending. If Evers and the Legislature do not reduce spending before the tax revenues fall during the next recession, the citizens of Wisconsin will be left footing the bill for their neglect when they can least afford it.

Public input on the next state budget

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in print and online. Go get a copy! Here’s a taste:

Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes have announced they will hold four public listening sessions before Christmas to get the public’s input on the upcoming state budget. The four sessions will be today in Green Bay, Wednesday in Wausau, Dec. 18 in La Crosse and Dec. 19 in Milwaukee.

Since all four sessions begin during working hours and, like most tax-paying Wisconsinites, I work for a living, I will not be able to attend and give the incoming administration my thoughts in person. This column will have to suffice.

As the Legislature and governor begin the process of crafting the next state budget, they must do so with the understanding that Wisconsin is not immune from the economic winds blowing across the nation. While the underlying economic metrics remain strong, several leading indicators, including the wild movements in the stock market, foretell a looming recession within the next year or two.

Since Wisconsin uses a biennial budget, it is likely the next recession will come during the budget our elected officials are about to write. They must write that budget understanding recessions always lead to a decrease in state tax revenue while making higher demands on state services like welfare and Badger-Care. To that end, the overriding objective of the next state budget should be to reduce spending, reduce taxes and continue to pump money into the state’s rainy day fund, because rainy days are in the forecast.

From a revenue standpoint, the state of Wisconsin is in great shape. Thanks to the series of tax cuts that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators have delivered over the past few years, tax revenue is flowing into state coffers at historic levels. There is no shortage of money for politicians to spend.

While the Republicans have done a tremendous job in the previous few budgets, they have failed to reduce spending. Despite claims to the contrary, every single state budget for the last generation or more has spent more than the previous budget. Granted, the Republicans did not increase spending as much as the Democrats wanted to, but they increased spending nonetheless.

The vast majority of state spending is spent on a handful of budget priorities. One cannot seriously reduce spending without looking to the big budget items. The first area Evers and the Legislature should look is at education spending.

Evers Forms Criminal Justice Panel

Goodness. “Making of a Murder” was a factual train wreck and Butler was run out of office for his soft on crime attitude. I see that when Evers says “prioritizing people,” he means crooks and violent criminals – not the people they victimize.

In a statement Monday announcing the panel, Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes also emphasized the state’s racial incarceration disparity and said it’s time “to start prioritizing people, not prisons.”

The new panel includes Dean Strang, who gained international fame for his defense of Steven Avery in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” and former state Supreme Court justices Louis Butler and Janine Geske.

Other notable names include:

  • Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney;
  • Kelli Thompson, who heads the state Public Defender’s Office;
  • Matt Frank, former state Department of Natural Resources Secretary and former Assistant State Attorney General;
  • Milwaukee County Chief Deputy Sheriff Denita Ball;
  • Rick Raemisch, former state Department of Corrections Secretary and former Dane County Sheriff, who now leads the Colorado Department of Corrections;
  • Walter Dickey, University of Wisconsin Law School professor and former state Department of Corrections Secretary;
  • Angela Lang, director of the Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities;
  • Jim Palmer, who heads the state’s police union.

The announcement Monday said the panel aims to “bring together people from all sides of the criminal justice system” to work on possible criminal justice changes.

Evers Holds Public Listening Sessions for Budget

Notice anything about these?

  • December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.
  • December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.
  • December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.
  • December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Yep. They are all during business hours on weekdays when most Wisconsin taxpayers are working. Furthermore, these were just announced and start this week. That’s not enough time for most working Wisconsinites to even ask off if they want to attend one of these sessions.

The result is inevitable because it is planned: the vast majority of people who show up for these sessions will be leftist activists calling for more spending. Then, after the sessions are done, Evers will use the fact that all he heard were calls for more spending as justification to propose more spending.

Evers Recommits to Replace Jobs Agency

Yes. Only government knows how to do economic development. More jobs for bureaucrats.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers said Tuesday that after taking office he will propose to dissolve Gov. Scott Walker’s public-private jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

[…]

“I think it’s important that economic development be part of state government rather than a public-private partnership,” Evers said.

Evers Promises Massive Spending Increase

As expected.

MADISON (WKOW) — Governor-elect Tony Evers is remaining confident he will increase funding for Wisconsin public schools by 10 percent despite GOP leaders having doubts.

Evers proposed a $1.4 billion education budget as the State Superintendent back in September when state agencies submitted their spending plans.

It’s a proposal he hopes to keep as the next governor even though GOP leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald didn’t seem confident last week. Speaker Vos shot down the proposal assuming it would only work if there was a massive tax increase to pay for it.

“It literally cannot be accomplished without either taking from some to give to another or a massive tax increase,” said Vos last week when speaking to reporters.

Evers said while visiting hundreds of students at a vocational training center in Coloma that it’s “reasonable.”

“My goal is to go forward with the budget I have… it’s property tax neutral,” said Evers.

Once again I will point out the intellectual bankruptcy of increasing spending on education for the sake of increasing spending on education. Spending on education has become a proxy for actually doing something and is a crutch used by politicians of both sides who have nothing real to offer.

People: “What are you going to do to improve education?”

Politician: “Spend more of your money on it!”

People: “How will that improve educational outcomes?”

Politician: “YOU HATE KIDS!”

And around we go…

In other news, notice the language by Evers… “property tax neutral…” The state doesn’t even have a property tax anymore. Education is funded with sales and income taxes. Let’s hope that Vos and Fitz remain strong and loyal to the voters in their districts who elected them.

Evers Says he Won’t Raise Taxes

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Evers, it’s that he still isn’t used to people actually listening to what he says. He seems to just say whatever he thinks is convenient to the person he’s currently talking to – apparently unmoored by his previous statements or actual thoughts and intentions. If you believe that Evers won’t raise taxes if he’s elected, I have a bridge to sell you… brand new!

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrat Tony Evers, who has said he would consider raising the gas tax if elected governor of Wisconsin and has campaigned on ending a tax break primarily benefiting manufacturers, told a newspaper that he’s not planning to raise any taxes.

Evers, the state schools superintendent, is challenging Republican Gov. Scott Walker, with the most recent poll showing the race tied. Walker has vowed not to raise taxes. Evers has been open to a variety of tax hikes while vowing to cut income taxes for the middle class by 10 percent.

Evers planned to pay for that tax cut with $300 million gained by eliminating the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit program, a move Walker has cast as a tax increase on beneficiaries of the program.

But in a Washington Post story published Thursday, Evers said, “I’m planning to raise no taxes.”

Evers spokesman Sam Lau offered little clarity Friday on the contradiction. Lau said that Evers was referring only to his plan for the middle-class tax cut.

“Those details have not changed,” Lau said.

Bernie Evers Wants $15 Minimum Wage

Minimum!

MacIver News Service | Oct. 22, 2018

By Bill Osmulski and Chris Rochester

MILWAUKEE – Tony Evers stole Bernie Sanders’ socialist spotlight in Milwaukee on Monday when he told supporters that when it comes to the minimum wage “we’re going to $15 an hour minimum. Minimum.”

Sanders was in Milwaukee to rally the Democrat base around the party’s top candidates in next month’s election. Tony Evers, Gwen Moore, Randy Bryce, Tammy Baldwin, and Mandela Barnes were all there at the UWM student union. Several hundred people attended.

Given the location at one of the UW System’s top universities, Evers thought it was also a good time to admit being on the board of regents is “the worst part of my job.”

Nothing says “economic growth” like bone-crushing government regulations.

First Debate Between Evers and Walker

Since nobody actually watched the debate live because it was on a Friday night during a Brewers playoff game and a Bucks game, here’s a recording of the debate.

Tony Evers Heavily Plagiarized in Official Budget Request

Way to set an example for the school kids, Tony.

MADISON – State schools Superintendent Tony Evers submitted a budget request as his bid for governor heated up in September that included sections plagiarized from Wikipedia, a blog by an intern at a think tank and two other sources.

[…]

Evers’ budget request includes a 15-paragraph section on the benefits of summer school programs that is nearly verbatim to a blog post written by a Thomas B. Fordham Institute intern.

A section on the benefits of having students work matches nearly word for word a publication by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability. That section includes two paragraphs and a list of four benefits of having students work.

Two other paragraphs appear to be taken verbatim from other sources — one from the Afterschool Alliance and one from Wikipedia.

And this is telling…

A spokesman for Evers’ Department of Public Instruction acknowledged that “proper citation use was missed in certain places” of the budget request. Staff will be retrained but Evers does not plan to discipline anyone, according to the department.

Clearly there isn’t a culture of accountability in Evers’ DPI.

Evers’ failed logic and Cedarburg’s folly

Here is my full column that ran yesterday in the Washington County Daily News.

In justifying his call for a massive spending increase on public schools, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers cites the fact that local school districts have been passing referendums as evidence of a pent-up demand for more taxing and spending by everyone. Not only is Evers’ argument flawed, but he conveniently overlooks how dishonest many school districts are being to get their referendums passed.

More than 25 years ago, Wisconsin imposed a limit on how much local school districts can raise the local property tax levy, but the state allowed school districts to exceed the levy limit if local voters approved through a referendum. Recently, there has been a spate of school referendums being approved.

Where Evers’ logic fails is if the fact that some school districts passed referendums is evidence of an overall desire to increase taxes, then the opposite must also be true. The fact that the vast majority of school districts did not pass a referendum must be evidence that there is not an overall desire to increase taxes. The fact is only a small minority of the 421 school districts in Wisconsin have passed a referendum in recent years. Many of them have not even propositioned the voters with the question. If a majority of districts did not pass a referendum, would it not stand to reason that the majority of voters do not want a tax increase?

The recent surge in referendums passing is primarily due to two reasons. First, thanks to the booming job growth and increasing wages, we are living in a time of plenty. It is easy for voters to feel generous when times are good. They often forget that the $300 or $400 property tax increase they approve when the bank account is flush may not still be there when the next recession hits and they are looking for work.

The second reason referendums have been more successful lately is because many school districts have found a formula, based on gross misinformation, which increases the odds in their favor. Let us look at the referendum in Cedarburg as a perfect example.

First, the school district builds the facade of support through a stacked community advisory group and a phony propaganda survey. There are builders, architects and survey companies who have made it their business to help school districts run this sham process and Cedarburg engaged the infamous School Perceptions to conduct their advocacy survey. As designed, the survey in Cedarburg came back showing support for a referendum.

Second, the school district tries its best to hide the real costs of the referendum. In Cedarburg, they are saying that it will cost $59.8 million. That is completely false. The Cedarburg District wants to borrow $59.8 million. As anyone who has borrowed money to buy a home, vehicle, or anything else knows, there is a cost to borrowing. The total actual cost of the referendum, depending on the interest rates and term, is more likely between $90 million and $105 million.

Third, school districts play down the tax impact. In Cedarburg, they are claiming that such a massive debt would “be an increase of $58.00 per $100,000.00 of a home’s value.” That is a grossly incorrect portrayal. According to the district’s financial disclosure, the cost of the referendum would be $181 per $100,000. The $58 number is because the district plans to retire some old debt, so the net tax increase would be $58. But if the voters vote down the referendum, they will actually enjoy a tax decrease of $123 per $100,000 of home value when that debt is retired.

Not to mention that there are not a lot of homes in Cedarburg that cost $100,000. According to Zillow, the median home value in Cedarburg is about $300,000. So the total cost for the owner of a median Cedarburg home is $543 per year – or $10,860 over the 20-year term of the loan.

Fourth, every school referendum is different, but they usually share some similarities in their justifications for needing more money. In Cedarburg, they cite growing enrollment as a need for more space. The problem is that the Cedarburg School District, like most Wisconsin public school districts, has been experiencing a decline in enrollment. Kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment in Cedarburg is down 6.5 percent since it peaked in the 2004-2005 school year. And if you subtract the kids who open enrolled into the district (a number that the district can control), kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment was actually down 10.5 percent since the 2004-2005 school year.

Cedarburg District officials insist that enrollment is about to explode even though census data and state projections predict a continued decline in enrollment. Cedarburg officials rest their predictions on a bizarre analysis of residential development in the district. The problem is that history does not support their projections. In short, district officials are claiming that the district will add far more kids per new development than has been the case for the last 10 years or more.

Fifth, the school district leadership stonewalls anyone who might ask tough questions. In the case of Cedarburg, the superintendent declined to comment on the referendum and pointed to the district’s website for all inquiries.

If the voters in Cedarburg are smart, they will see through the balderdash that their school district is trying to sell them and vote down their referendum. If not, and they choose to foist a huge tax increase on themselves, it is certainly not an indication that anyone else in Wisconsin wants a tax increase too.

Evers’ failed logic and Cedarburg’s folly

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste, but you’ll need to pick up a paper today to read the whole thing.

Where Evers’ logic fails is if the fact that some school districts passed referendums is evidence of an overall desire to increase taxes, then the opposite must also be true. The fact that the vast majority of school districts did not pass a referendum must be evidence that there is not an overall desire to increase taxes. The fact is only a small minority of the 421 school districts in Wisconsin have passed a referendum in recent years. Many of them have not even propositioned the voters with the question. If a majority of districts did not pass a referendum, would it not stand to reason that the majority of voters do not want a tax increase?

Vote for Tony Evers if you want higher taxes

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

During the era of Gov. Jim Doyle, Wisconsin was a tax hell. Our state consistently ranked in the top tier for overall tax burden and worst tax climate for business. Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature have made great strides in lowering taxes to the point that Wisconsin is now slightly worse than the average state in these rankings. That is a remarkable improvement in less than a decade. Perhaps it is now fair to say that Wisconsin is a tax purgatory, but it certainly has not ascended to a tax heaven yet.

If Wisconsin’s voters elect Democratic candidate Tony Evers to be our next governor, he will certainly push Wisconsin back down into the depths of the tax hell we just escaped. One may be tempted to think that this is just another baseless “Democrats will raise your taxes” attack. Evers is a doctrinaire liberal, so it would be easy to just assume that he wants to raise taxes. But one need only look at Evers’ own words to see that it is true. In fact, increasing taxes to support more government spending seems to be Evers’ answer to every issue facing the state.

Evers’ core issue, as one would expect, is public education. As the head of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction, he has served as the titular leader of public education in the state for years. Yet, year after year, he failed to advance any initiatives to actually improve education. His one solution has always been, and is now, to spend more.

In his role as superintendent of the DPI, he submitted a budget that would increase state spending on public education by $1.7 billion in the next budget. That is a massive increase in spending. On Tony Evers’ campaign website, he says that if elected he will, “increase investments” and “increase funding” in virtually all aspects of the public school oligopoly.

Evers claims that such spending increases will not require tax increases because other state spending can be reprioritized. The problem with his math is that he wants to increase spending on all of the other major state spending items too.

When it comes to state spending on transportation and infrastructure, Evers says that he will “invest more in local road maintenance,” and “increase funding for public transit.” He will also “repeal changes made to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws.” Those changes will save the taxpayers millions of dollars — if they are not repealed.

For the environment, Evers will “invest in our natural resources” and shield the Department of Natural Resources from public oversight. For health care, Evers will “invest in preventative health programs” and “accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars,” which is already forcing more state spending in the states that accepted it. For economic development, Evers promises to “ensure access to high speed broadband,” “invest in our roads, bridges, ports and airports,” and “increase our investment in education.” For the University of Wisconsin System, Evers promises to “increase investments in both our technical schools and UW System.”

One thing becomes very clear in reviewing Tony Evers’ plan for Wisconsin. Whatever problems the state faces, the solution, in Evers’ mind, is to spend more money. The short list of items above comprises more than 60 percent of all state spending, and Evers wants to increase spending on all of it. What will he cut to offset that spending? Pensions? Law enforcement? Local aids?

There is no doubt that Tony Evers will raise taxes if given the chance. There is no other way to support the incredible increases in spending he envisions for the state. The only questions is how much taxes will go up under a Governor Evers.

Vote for Tony Evers if you want higher taxes

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste.

During the era of Gov. Jim Doyle, Wisconsin was a tax hell. Our state consistently ranked in the top tier for overall tax burden and worst tax climate for business. Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature have made great strides in lowering taxes to the point that Wisconsin is now slightly worse than the average state in these rankings. That is a remarkable improvement in less than a decade. Perhaps it is now fair to say that Wisconsin is a tax purgatory, but it certainly has not ascended to a tax heaven yet.

If Wisconsin’s voters elect Democratic candidate Tony Evers to be our next governor, he will certainly push Wisconsin back down into the depths of the tax hell we just escaped. One may be tempted to think that this is just another baseless “Democrats will raise your taxes” attack. Evers is a doctrinaire liberal, so it would be easy to just assume that he wants to raise taxes. But one need only look at Evers’ own words to see that it is true. In fact, increasing taxes to support more government spending seems to be Evers’ answer to every issue facing the state.