Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 26, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers isn’t excited about another round of tax cuts.
That should come as no surprise to those who have followed Wisconsin politics over the past year.
Tax-and-spend Tony, you’ll recall, publicly declared in the final days of his campaign for governor that he didn’t foresee any tax increases, and then almost immediately proposed tax hikes after taking office.
The Democrat, speaking at a WisPolitics.com luncheon this week, threw water on Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s recent call for tax cuts. The Juneau Republican said he’d like to pass another tax relief package next year, if revenue figures come back better than expected in January.
Evers claimed Fitzgerald was just playing politics. Maybe. The senator is running for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by long-serving U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls).
It was on Evers’ broader argument where the Madison liberal showed his true grow-government stripes.
“A one-time increase in revenue cannot in perpetuity fund a tax cut. That’s not the way money works,” the governor said.
It’s funny — as in curious and hilarious — that a governor who proposed billions of dollars in new taxpayer spending on an array of politically motivated projects would lecture anyone on “the way money works.”
In Tax-and-Spend Tony World, taxpayer money belongs to the government, not to the taxpayer. Better-than-expected revenue means the government is taxing too much in the first place. The additional revenue should go back from whence it came.
Ultimately, Evers misses the point. Tax cuts shouldn’t be paid for by increased revenue (more tax dollars coming in), but by cutting the mammoth size of government.
State Sen. Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon) said Evers’ comments reflect the governor’s “staunch liberal ideology that in no way, shape or form should government ever shrink.”
“We just passed a budget that increased spending by billions of dollars. There’s plenty of room in there to cut,” Craig said. The senator was one of a handful of Republican lawmakers who did not vote for the $81 billion biennial budget.
Evers and his tax-and-spend friends on the left are not alone. There are plenty of Republicans who have been loathe to trim Wisconsin’s ever-expanding state government. While they applaud the $600 million the Republican-controlled Legislature has devoted to the state’s “rainy day fund,” they, like Evers, talk about the pot of money like it’s the only fiscal safeguard against economic downturn.
Evers wants more money in the account so that he doesn’t have to make the politically tough choice of down-sizing a behemoth administrative state that Wisconsin taxpayers simply cannot afford.
Craig points out that it’s all taxpayer money. He also offers this warning:
“Any lawmaker should be concerned about the government with a liberal governor who has no intention of ever cutting government but has every indication of growing government,” the senator said. “Do we really want to have a piggy bank for that government with ready access to spend that money?”