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New State Budget Will Get Wisconsin Back on Track

Spending plan closes deficit, reduces taxes and will spur businesses to create more jobs here.

Once facing $3.6 billion in red ink, Wisconsin’s finances are now back in the black.

The state Senate recently passed - and Gov. Scott Walker into law on Sunday - a two-year budget that cuts taxes, freezes property taxes and put the state back in the black for the first time in more than 10 years.

In six months, we’ve managed to clean up the mess that was made of our finances over the last eight years.This budget delivers real reform, protects taxpayers during these tough economic times and provides a stable environment to grow jobs.

We were able to do more with less, just like families throughout Wisconsin are doing in this tough economy. Our budget plan means more jobs, more money in the classroom, more teachers, more accountability, more reform, more local control.

To put this budget in perspective, it’s important to look at the last state budget passed by the Democrats.Their budget increased spending $3.6 billion, raised taxes $4.7 billion, including a $1.2 billion hike property taxes. Where did it leave us? When we started the two-year budget plan, we first had to fill a $3.6 billion hole.

I’m happy to report we did it and without raising your taxes.In fact, this budget cuts taxes $24 million, creates the first permanent property tax freeze and cuts credit card spending by nearly $2 billion. Taxpayers scored another victory in the budget with the elimination of Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs). However well intentioned they were, the RTAs were unelected, unaccountable boards yet could raise taxes.

We had to make tough, but necessary cuts. However, the budget protects and funds important programs like SeniorCare, Family Care, recycling and provided more money for school kids. We dug ourselves out of a $3.6 billion deficit left by former Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrats, protected our most vulnerable, and did it without raising taxes - just like we promised.

Like most families, the Wauwatosa School District is using the tools passed in Wisconsin Act 10, the budget repair bill, to have employees contribute more to their health care and pensions.

With those savings, they are launching a new second language program,opening a Montessori school and exploring hybrid classes which combine online learning with classroom instruction. They are doing all of that without raising taxes. In fact, some residents will see their bill go down. The Wauwatosa superintendent told Wauwatosa Now: “All of these things would not be possible, if we weren’t able to get those types of concessions.”

Lower taxes and a stable economy send a strong message that Wisconsin is open for business again. By contrast, Democratic lawmakers in Illinois passed massive tax hikes and are still facing an $8 billion deficit. Now, not surprisingly, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is supporting legislation to scale back collective bargaining powers of state unions.

Wisconsin is headed in a smarter direction and the rest of the nation is paying attention. We’ve already seen some companies move from Illinois to Wisconsin. I expect that trend to continue.

Wisconsin is open for business and this budget proves it.

State Sen. Alberta Darling represents the 8th District, which includes Menomonee Falls, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point and Bayside.

Lyle Ruble June 30, 2011 at 11:02 PM
@Joe Peterlin...Joe, you and I are in agreement that we are going through a major transitional period in our nation's history. Often when there is transition, society becomes very unstable. I understand there will many "starts and stops" as we try to find our way to "what we will be"; but what I find dangerous is that the conservatives are pushing too fast and too far. People need time to adapt. I have a theory of change: People do not change until their resistance to change is overcome by the discomfort they are experiencing for staying in place is greater than the proposed discomfort of making a change is less. However, what I object to is when people purposely try to raise anxiety levels to make change or to resist change. Politicians use this continuously to motivate or refute; thus building emotion to make change or resist change. What we are faced with now is a crisis in values orientation; whether to follow and reinforce utilitarian values (usually found primarily in business) or to follow greater humanistic values.
Beth Gregg July 01, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Sammy, we'd all like to see some hard facts to back up those claims of yours please. This "piece" from Alberta is missing the one crucial fact that we all need to see--where are the jobs? You can talk about all this "reform" Senator Darling, but the bottom line is that there is NO new job creation going on in Wisconsin. The policy that you advocate doesn't create jobs. Why are you citing the positive changes in a community outside of YOUR district--why aren't you talking about what's happening in the schools in YOUR district? I know why and so does everyone else, they are being decimated. This opinion piece is really just a re-tread of the tired old rhetoric you've been spouting since your last election. In which, by the way, you did not campaign on cutting programs and giving tax breaks to corporations. REMEMBER? http://cognidissidence.blogspot.com/2008/09/alberta-darlings-new-campaign-strategy.html P
Lyle Ruble July 01, 2011 at 03:52 AM
@Sammy...You are so far out in right field that you can't be taken seriously. Tone down please. You know there is medications to help with your delusions.
Lyle Ruble July 01, 2011 at 03:52 AM
@Sammy...You are so far out in right field that you can't be taken seriously. Tone down please. You know there is medications to help with your delusions.
Drizzit July 25, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Thank you for bringing school choice to Racine & balancing the budget. I feel secure that our state is on the right track. Alberta has been so strong through all the hate & vicious attacks. I'm from Racine, but I work in her district & want to thank her constituents & colleagues. Now I may be able to help my children avoid one of the 15 failing schools in Racine. I also want to thank Alberta for saving my sister's job as a teacher.

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