By Sen. Chris Kapenga
One big yawn. That’s often what happens when we start talking about budgets and fiscal responsibility. The brain shuts down and taking a nap seems like a great idea. I know many people don’t consider being fiscally responsible to have a role in politics anymore, but I disagree.
In your own life, you may not call it fiscal responsibility, but you have to manage where your money goes. You know that spending $4,000 a month when you only bring in $2,000 is a cause for concern. Keep that up for a few months, and you’re going to be in deep trouble and have buyer’s remorse.
When we put together the state of Wisconsin budget, there are a lot of things that go into it. But essentially the same principles apply—we look at what money is coming in and what money is going out. And when there’s an imbalance, we should delay getting some of the things on our wish list. Yes, we’d love to get that boat, or maybe new kitchen appliances, or even a bigger house. But we don’t just buy all of those things one after another. Well, unless your name is Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates—and I guess now Governor Evers has joined the crowd.
Most of us have to be thoughtful and deliberate about our purchases and often have to save for them while we spend toward things that are necessary—like food, gas, mortgage and rent, clothes for the kids, and paying the electric and water bills.
Right now, the Legislature is in the budget-writing process and is reviewing Gov. Tony Evers’ buyer’s remorse budget. I could give you a mind-numbing list of the insane, record spending and tax hikes in his budget, but in the context of this column, I think the most important thing to share with you is that the governor’s proposed budget spending exceeds revenues by nearly $1.7 billion over the next two years! For context, that would be the largest imbalance of any budget in more than two decades.
Gov. Evers isn’t going for the boat; he’s looking to buy a yacht. He doesn’t just want new kitchen appliances; he wants gold-plated ones. He doesn’t want a cabin up north; he wants a 10,000 square-foot mansion.
I read recently that more than two-thirds of Americans think the government doesn’t spend their tax dollars wisely. Can you blame them?
Ultimately, Legislative Republicans will create our own budget that keeps the limited role of government, stewards your tax dollars well, and makes common sense investments in our future. And here’s the bottom line. While fiscal responsibility may not be the most exciting thing to hear about, it sure sounds better than woeful tales of buyer’s remorse.
State Sen. Chris Kapenga is president of the Wisconsin State Senate and represents the 33rd Senate District, which covers most of central Waukesha County and Lake Country.