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.

The Democrat-approved auto insurance increases are now in effect

State budget

A question for Wisconsin motorists:

At any time during the first six months of 2009, during the 2009-11 state budget deliberations, did you contact Governor Doyle, your state Senator, and/or your state Representative to voice concern that your auto insurance premiums were too low and state government should take action to make your premiums increase?

As you chuckle and scoff, let me just say, I didn’t think so.

And yet, Governor Doyle and the Democrat-controlled Legislature decided to include a provision in the current state budget that mandate higher auto insurance premiums that officially increase today, June 1, 2010.

On March 3, 2009, I blogged:

“The Wisconsin Insurance Alliance (WIA) says that the governor’s budget includes an astounding 300 percent increase in mandatory auto insurance limits. Current minimums are $25,000 for personal injury, $50,000 for occurrence, and $10,000 for property. The governor wants minimums set at $100,000 for personal injury, $300,000 for occurrence, and $25,000 for property.

The WIA says the new limits would mean some motorists could experience cost increases ranging from 33-45 percent with the largest dollar increases affecting Milwaukee area motorists.

The WIA worries the increased rates will result in the dangerous scenario of more uninsured motorists on Wisconsin roads.

I agree with the WIA that the issue of auto insurance rates is not an appropriate matter to be dumped into the state budget and should be debated as a separate policy item.”

Then on June 17, 2009, I blogged:

“I offered an amendment to remove a provision that would increase your auto insurance premiums by mandating motorists take on additional coverage.

I have talked with agents in the insurance industry and they assure me that auto insurance rates will increase. They explain consumers are beginning to pay their premiums in installments due to the poor economy and are likely to drop their auto insurance, creating great risk.

Why would we want to encourage motorists to do away with insurance?

This provision penalizes decent people paying their bills and continuing to have coverage.

We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have generally low auto insurance rates.  Must we ruin everything that’s good about our great state?”

Increases were approved by legislative Democrats in both the state Senate and state Assembly and signed into law by Governor Doyle.

Making matters worse, after the budget became law, word started to spread and consumers started to get angry. Democrats falsely claimed that insurance companies lobbied for the increases.

On November 2, 2009, I blogged,
"Your auto  insurance is going up and here's why." Here is an excerpt:

Wisconsin enjoyed some of the lowest auto insurance rates in the nation. Dramatic changes brought on by government were unnecessary. Neither insurance companies nor consumers requested the mandates. They were the exclusive brainchild of legislative Democrats and the governor now wanting to pass blame. Savvy drivers might have to buy more and pay more, however they are not buying the Democrats’ explanation.”

Where do we stand today?

Effective June 1, 2010, the insurance hikes mandated by Democrats in their 2009-11 state budget are in effect. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) reports:

Effective June 1, no one may operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin unless the owner or operator has a motor vehicle liability policy in place covering that vehicle that has minimum liability limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage. Drivers are also required to have proof of the vehicle's liability coverage in their possession if they are asked to produce evidence of coverage by law enforcement officials.”

Again, did you Wisconsin residents demand these changes?

The automatic increase in auto insurance premiums is part of the more than $3 billion increase in taxes and fees approved by Democrats in the 2009-11 state budget, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

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