Sunday, March 3, 2013

Comments on Governor Walker's Budget

Peter Barca, Democratic representative from Kenosha and Assembly minority leader, siphoned off some of the scattered complaints from Republican legislators against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget, one which claimed that Walker’s support for more money to private school vouchers would “devastate” public education. To public sector interests, any move toward competition and individual choice is “devastating” precisely because public institutions rely on a guaranteed stream of taxpayer funds, without accountability or innovation.

Another Republican claimed that taxpayers are supporting two education systems. This argument is disingenuous. The tax revenue for public education flows from one source, the individual and corporate filings of Wisconsin residents, yet the individual families which enroll their children  choose where the money is spent. Competition forces schools to cut costs, invest funds effectively, and provide an excellent education without wasting valuable resources. Besides, Walker’s reforms have ensured that public school districts can exercise discretion and necessity to reform health benefits and pension contracts in the future.

Instead of berating Governor Walker’s proposals in the short term, Assemblymember Barca, and his Democratic colleagues, should accept his ideas and acquiesce to the accumulating trends of decentralized and diminished government in the Dairy State. However, Gov. Walker’s expansion of tax credits is a costly gesture, one which necessitates hiring more auditors without providing streamlined revenue streams for Wisconsin. Fewer auditors, fewer tax credits, and lower tax brackets would be better. Tax cuts for middle class earners, even if two or three dollars a week, is better than nothing.

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