Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Balanced budget puts Wisconsin on right track

by Tyler August - State Representative

June 23, 2011

After years of out of control spending, the State Assembly finally passed a balanced state budget, 60-38. Let me say that again — this budget eliminates our state’s $3 billion deficit and balances the budget by leaving a surplus.

This shouldn’t be a shocking statement, but due to fiscal irresponsibility of previous administrations, this will be Wisconsin’s first balanced budget in many years.

We did it by enacting true budgetary reforms, making tough decisions and cutting unnecessary fat, rather than using the accounting tricks of the past.

Unlike recent budgets, we did not rely on raising taxes, transferring money from segregated funds or using one-time federal money.

In fact, this budget takes a look at our state’s finances like any family or small business would — don’t spend money you don’t have and when times are tough you must tighten your belt.

The budget contains many positive provisions that I fully support, including:

• Eliminates the $3 billion deficit.

• No tax increases.

• Permanent property tax freeze, resulting in an average $700 savings per homeowner.

• No fund raids.

• Eliminates more than 1,000 state positions.

• Deletes the $587,000 child care earmark for state employees located in Madison.

• Makes significant welfare reforms and requires penalties for failing or refusing drug tests for unemployment.

As with any budget, the 1,500-page document did have some pieces that I did not support. I believe that overall spending should have been lower and have concerns with the amount of bonding.

However, this budget is a step in the right direction and takes Wisconsin out of the red and into the black.

Although I did not agree with everything in the budget, I felt at the end of the day that supporting the budget bill would be the best action for our community and state.