The corpulent one is in full aria. Ear drums are bleeding in the cheap seats. Riedel champagne flutes are shattering all over the place.
It is over for the Democrats in Wisconsin. The report card is in on the Jim E. Doyle-Mark Pocan-Mark Miller state budget. The Pew Center for the States, as disinterested party as you can find, puts Wisconsin among the 10 states whose government is in the worst budgetary shape.
We're a heart attack waiting to happen. Our fiscal arteries are clogged with mismanagement. We're in the same intensive care ward as California! Bring out the electric paddles!
Read the Pew report and weep! "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril."
This succinct package of reportage and quote from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is damning, considering the quoted expert is a former Democrat(ic) lawmaker:
Wisconsin leaders scored low in the rankings for previous fiscal decisions: Taking money from the transportation fund to fill gaps in education and day-to-day operations, and running negative balances in the general fund for five straight years, before the recession.
Five straight years before the recession? In other words, since 1993 - the very year that … dare I say it, Jim E. Doyle and his cronies took over the opera house under the dome?
"It's practically a textbook case of how not to engage in fiscal policy and budget-making," Mordecai Lee, professor of government affairs at UW-Milwaukee, says in the report. "Structurally, we are around the corner of becoming like California."
Now we're supposed to support an increase in the beer tax, ostensibly to fight alcoholism but which would only be raided for other purposes?
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel continues:
State Sen. Alberta Darling said the Pew analysis hit the mark in identifying the consequences the state faces for spending more money than it collects and adding programs while the overall economy is in a recession.
Overall spending in the 2009-'11 budget is up 6.2%, to roughly $65 billion, a level of spending "that is unsustainable," Darling said.
It also is a continuation of a long-standing pattern, according to the Pew analysis.
Since the beginning of the year, Wisconsin residents have been hit with tax and fee increases totaling over $5 billion which have only begun to take affect. This results in an increase of over $1,000 dollars per person or over $4,000 dollars for a family of four.
Meanwhile in the orchestra pit
Not to be outdone, The Kathleen wants to increase Dane County's property taxes by 7.8% - which will only be part of the base in the budget after this ... when state aid is bound to go down still more. But watch her Democrat-Progressive Dane coalition cut not one dime from overall spending.
First place to cut: The Conservation Fund, proposed at $2.5 million for 2010; another $1 million for the Land and Water Legacy Fund. Just one year, cut the spending!
Contrast that to Scott Walker, county executive in Milwaukee, who has vowed to freeze the tax levy at last year's level and will announce vetoes of his county board's budget to restore $11 million in cuts.
The City of Madison is increasing its share of the property tax bill by 4.1%.
- $37 million for a Downtown Library
- $16 million for the Edgewater Hotel
- $1 million for State Street Peace Park
- $1 million for Central Park
- $5 million for Land banking
Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele exclaimed to Blaska's Blog, "It's been quite frustrating for me having to work with this Chronic spend-crazy Council that has lost all touch with reality, while the rest of Madison are tightening belts. In the end, Madisonians' backs will collapse under the tax weight, the very last straw is coming. Sensible people have been leaving."
The Capital Times has the gall to criticize Madison Ald. Jed Sanborn for not being "serious" about cutting the city budget. At least Sanborn, along with Alds. Pham-Remmele and Paul Skidmore, offered cuts. What cuts did The Capital Times propose?
Even Paul Soglin acknowledges "The Pew Center is reputable." So his solution is what? The Scott Walker/Mark Neumann strategy of cutting government instead of raising taxes? Encouraging employers instead of kowtowing to feather-bedding unions? Are you kidding?!!! Here is Havana Paul:
First we need a plan to grow the state's economy. That means more than developing real estate; it calls for investment in human capacity (education) and infrastructure. Decisions on funding schools, transportation systems, and communications must be based on sound economic and social principles, not political ideology.
Read it carefully (or "parse" it, as the liberals like to say) and Havana Paul is actually calling for higher taxes (that is what "investment" means in LiberalSpeak) - and that it be spent on schools and "infrastructure." Not roads, presumably. Probably commuter rail. "Based on sound economic AND social principles?" How is that not "political ideology?"
- Here's some sound economic principles: Forbes magazine lists Wisconsin as one of the three worst states in the country to conduct business; the Tax Foundation has identified Wisconsin as one of the 10 worst tax climates. And you wonder why our state has lost 180,000 jobs?
- In the midst of all this, the Democrats' Wisconsin-only warming task force would kill off more jobs. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute estimates the Wisconsin-only global warming proposals endorsed by a governor's task force will eliminate 43,000 private sector jobs over 11 years and reduce personal income in the state by $7.9 billion. Here's the report.
Someone Has to Do It
The state Republican party is helping Democrats recruit a candidate for governor. They have placed these want ads in several newspapers around the state:
WANTED Individual willing run as the Democratic Nominee for Governor of Wisconsin. Must be willing to defend tax hikes, eroding business climate, and higher vehicle insurance rates. No experience necessary, but willingness to take direction from WEAC and trial lawyers a must. Deep pockets of personal wealth a plus. Call Mike at 255-5172. - Paid for by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Cathy Stepp, Treasurer.
"Not just anybody is going to want to defend what the Democrats have done to the economy and tax climate in our state," said Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. "Finding someone willing to continue the destructive policies of Jim Doyle requires casting a wide net."