Monday, November 21, 2011

The Wangman Cometh

Van enjoying a donut at the Becker
campaign office wearing his union t-shirt.
Happy Monday! Wanny wrote a book report for the Journal Times. Shall we correct it for him?

Our comments are in red.


Commentary: Balancing the budget and protecting taxpayers helps foster job creation Please don't Recall me, I need the job 

It's hard to believe it has only been a year since I was elected to serve Racine County in the state Senate. Yes, we've been counting the days too Van so we could recall you. When I ran for office last fall, I ran a campaign that was focused on two primary objectives: bringing jobs to Racine and balancing the budget without raising taxes. I also dodged debating my opponent and held my own debate against myself and no one came. Now, 11 months later, we've made smart choices that balanced the budget while protecting education and the most vulnerable, and we've made progress on job creation. We did this by cutting every single program working people depend on and bled $1.25 BILLION from public schools. When I say "progress" on jobs I mean we took credit for lifeguard summer jobs and now that we are in the hole again, I try not to be too specific.
As I've met with those looking to hire and those looking for work, several common threads have emerged as obstacles to reviving our economy - easing Wisconsin's tax and regulatory burden on job creators, Unemployed  people are VERY concerned about the tax burden of Wisconsin corporations, they worry about it so much they forget to get jobs! improving access to capital By giving $185 million to corporations who are still not hiring and increasing the number of skilled, trained workers. By cutting 33% from tech colleges that train skilled workers our "job creators" keep saying they can't find. 
I've offered almost a dozen bills designed to spur Wisconsin's hiring and lower our unemployment rate. The Castle Doctrine - which we like to call "Oops, I just shot the Schwann's man in the face", Capital Gains Elimination Act - to end all capital gains taxes for my rich friends by 2014, Voter ID - to create jobs for the ID manufacturers we get State ID's from in CALIFORNIA, School Choice - So unaccredited schools can hire sub-par teachers and turn away learning disabled kids, Concealed & Carry - which okay doesn't do anything for the unemployed - I like guns,  Tort Reform - which will ensure medical device makers and drug companies aren't held responsible for people they kill and if they are will only have to pay a fraction of what they used to - what were we talking about?  Telecommunications Deregulation - because the guy from ATT who contributed to my campaign liked it. BTW these were ALEC written bills which I charged taxpayers to be a member this year. One of those bills eliminated a hidden tax increase for more than 15,000 Wisconsin families, And I also voted to end the Income Tax Credit for 275,000 Wisconsin residents - which is a tax INCREASE. and alleviated an administrative nightmare for employers. Another bill, the Next Generation Jobs Act will provide much-needed capital to emerging bioscience companies. A whopping $15 million, a bill I co-sponsored when I heard I was going to be recalled that will sit for a long time because the session is over, but I still brag about it and not look like such a loser. I'm also offering bills to increase the number of trained workers by creating a vocational high school diploma Because nothing insures a bright future like a meaningless diploma in fast food service. and a program to help unemployed workers receive training. We don't even know what the fuck he is talking about...but it sounds good doesn't it?
Easing Wisconsin's tax burden required balancing the state budget without raising taxes - Um, freezing the Homestead Tax Credit and slashing the Income Tax Credit is raising taxes. and making tough choices. Like what I'm having for lunch. In past budgets, the Legislature raised taxes, illegally raided funds and cut services. We just raided transportation funds and sales tax revenue. That choice put our budget in deficit - structural and real - left this legislature with outstanding bills to pay, and plunged Wisconsin deeper into recession. Our blank check to Wisconsin Corporate with tax breaks - resulting in lost revenue - will cost Wisconsin $2.3 BILLION over the next 10 years, but by the time you figure that out I'll be gone collecting my State pension as a cop AND as a Senator. As I said when I was running for office last fall, this was the wrong way to go. Tough times call for tough choices. Like a Recall.
This budget made the tough choices - and Wisconsin will be better off in the long run for it. See previous comment on lost revenue. We started with a $3.6 billion structural deficit. And increased our state debt to revenue ratio to over 5% in 2013-2014 - higher than anything Jim Doyle ever dreamed about.  Every dollar of new revenue (almost $1.4 billion) that the state received went to those needing Medical Assistance - and that still wasn't enough to cover costs. Because we miscalculated how much the Fed was going to give us...doh! We protected our seniors by preserving SeniorCare, and maintaining FamilyCare at its current level. And we are throwing 100,000 people off Badgercare...details, details.
We also made the tough choice to cut state aid to schools and local governments. These have been well-publicized, and a lot of hyperbole has been used to describe the impact of these cuts. Which may be part of the reason I am being recalled...who knows?! A recent survey of school districts shows that this Legislature has protected kids and education options. Okay so I wrote this before the NEW study that said we actually DID hurt schools. Uniformly in Racine County, extracurriculars and sports weren't eliminated. Because they had the money this year, next year they are fucked. Across the county, courses and sections in school were maintained - only one district reported eliminating only one class section. Instead of massive teacher layoffs, the 21st Senate District has only two fewer teachers this year than last, including retirements - and Racine Unified actually increased their number of teachers! Because 125 people will be cut NEXT year and let go nearly 60 teacher's aides this year which somehow don't count. Despite claims to the contrary, the sky is not falling. It just will in two years when unlimited school vouchers become available.  We expanded educational opportunities for kids, I am lying. and just as importantly, property taxpayers aren't being soaked. Except for freezing your Homestead Tax Credit so it doesn't keep up with inflation. Similarly, county and municipal governments have been able to maintain services without dramatic tax increases. Because we wrote the law that no matter what, they no longer CAN raise tax revenue because we're the local government have rights kinda guys. Buhbye buses.
For the first time in more than a decade, Wisconsin is projected to have a budget surplus. No it doesn't.  We've made tough choices and put Wisconsin on the road to economic recovery. Even though we lost 9,300 jobs last month.  Just this week, Ruud Lighting announced it would be adding 469 new jobs to its Sturtevant facility over the next four years. And Racine became #1 in unemployment again. This news comes on top of other big jobs announcements at American Metal Technologies, DeltaHawk and Daniel's Sharpsmart. Which were all developed by the previous administration. We've still got a long way to go, so my focus today remains the same as when you elected me a year ago - balance the budget LIE without raising taxes BIG LIE and creating and retaining jobs in Racine County. We'll let you know when that happens...if ever.
Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, represents the 21st Senate District.