Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

State Budget Watch: A list of what's wrong with the Governor's and JFC's budgets

State budget

Governor Doyle has proposed his 2009-11 state budget. His budget involvement is through until he makes vetoes in the budget approved by the Legislature and signs the document into law.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, controlled by Democrats, has approved its version of the budget. The Democrat-controlled Assembly now considers the budget. Then it goes to the Democrat-controlled state Senate. If the Assembly version and Senate version are not identical, a

conference committee comprised of legislators from both houses then takes up the budget.

Here are 10 of the worst items about Governor Doyle’s proposed budget:

1) Tax and fee increases: The total amount of tax and fee increases in Governor Doyle’s proposed 2009-11 state budget = $1,707,734,400.

2) Property taxes for the average Wisconsin home would increase $91 on bills this December and an additional $134 next year under Governor Doyle’s proposed state 2009-11 state budget. The property tax increase would be 3.2 percent this year and 4.5 percent next year. They are likely to go up even higher with the elimination of the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO).

3) Spending: The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) reports the state would spend 7.7 percent more in 2009-11 compared to the base year doubled under the governor’s proposed budget. The governor’s budget creates a $1.574 billion deficit in the 2011-13 state budget.

4) Raiding funds: The practice continues

5) Non-fiscal policy items are plentiful.

6) Public safety is jeopardized by releasing felons early and reducing GPS monitoring of sex offenders.

7) Allows illegal immigrants to receive driver cards and in-state tuition rates.

8) Governor Doyle’s budget proposal refrains from putting any funding toward REAL ID compliance. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports over $12.5 million has been collected from motorists that was supposed to go toward compliance with the federal law. Congressman Sensenbrenner was right when he said this about the governor: "If he keeps the fee that was collected for REAL ID and doesn't use it for that purpose, then he's stealing money from people who got licenses or renewed licenses since the fee went up." Real ID is necessary for homeland security. The money state residents have already paid for Real ID should be used by Governor Doyle exclusively for that program.

9) The governor is proposing a stunning mandate, requiring that all insurance policies cover dependents in some cases until they reach the age of 27.

10) A state authority would be created that would select a private entity, the SEIU for example, to represent a union of home care workers. The registry of union home care workers would be the basis for collective bargaining. The state Legislature has never in the history of Wisconsin created a union by an act of the Legislature through statutes. The impact on senior citizens will be significant. Health care costs will be driven up for seniors trying to stay out of nursing homes and live out their 
years in the warmth and comfort of their own homes. By paying home care providers, they stay off public assistance and prevent their personal assets from being drained. This drives up costs for seniors at a time elderly are doing everything they can to stay in their own homes and minimize costs. Seniors choosing not to use the registry would lose any benefits or participation. Once they have exhausted all their assets, they have little alternative except to go into a nursing home.

There are many more that belong in the top 10, nursing home bed tax, auto insurance increases, etc. etc. etc.

Here are 10 of the worst items about the budget approved by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC):

1) The JFC-approved budget increases taxes and fees by $2.1 billion according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).

2) The changes made by the JFC increased the state's net balance by $1.375 billion according to the LFB.

3) LFB also projects the state would have a structural deficit of almost $2.3 billion heading into the 2011-13 budget, under the JFC proposal.

4) The JFC budget is loaded with pork. 

5) The JFC budget aims to kill school choice. 

6) You will pay higher hospital care costs because a new hospital tax is being imposed in addition to the original hospital tax approved earlier this year by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature.

7) You will pay higher gasoline costs because a new oil company tax will merely be passed onto consumers.

8) You will pay higher car insurance premiums.

9) You will be less safe because many felons will be given early release. Your children will be less safe because GPS monitoring of sex offenders is being cut.

10) Your local police department will have longer response times because of a new requirement to collect racial data at every traffic stop.

These are just a few of the many problematic components of both the governor’s and the Joint Finance Committee’s budgets. I fear the Democrat-controlled state Assembly, Democrat-controlled state Senate, and Governor Doyle with his veto pen will not make any improvements to what will m
ore than likely be the worst state budget in Wisconsin history.

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