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PowerUp Podcast: Sen. Dale Kooyenga and the CPA effect

Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 30, 2020

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers taking credit for Wisconsin’s positive fiscal picture is like “Dr.” Jill Biden taking a bow for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Yet, there the governor was, bragging about “our diligence” in not “running up the state’s credit card” paying off.

As Empower Wisconsin noted last week, Evers had nothing to do with Wisconsin’s milestone achievement in getting its fiscal house in order.

“That’s what politicians do. They claim credit for things they don’t do themselves. But this was a laughable one,” state Sen. Dale Kooyenga told Empower Wisconsin’s M.D. Kittle this week on the Vicki McKenna Show.

The Brookfield Republican, a certified public accountant and member of the Legislature’s famed “CPA Caucus” can rightly take credit for the first time in decades the state budget has landed in positive territory under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Kooyenga and his fellow Republicans have for the past decade hammered at what in early 2011 was a $3 billion deficit under GAAP — true accounting — measures. Or as the CPA describes the fiscal picture at the time, “the accumulation of accounting sins” over decades, accelerated by the smoke-and-mirrors budgets of Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, in the first decade of the century.

“In the private sector, if you’re a CFO and you do that type of accounting that they were doing to the budget, you would go to jail,” Kooyenga said.

Evers, as Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) noted, would have added another $1 billion to the GAAP deficit had the Republican-controlled Legislature not checked his first state budget proposal in 2019.

Kooyenga said the work isn’t done. He said taxpayers should reap the benefits of continued fiscal discipline with another round of tax cuts. And the lawmaker, a member of the Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee, is calling for an audit of November’s election, plagued with irregularities.

State. Sen. Dale Kooyenga is our guest today on this edition of PowerUp, Empower Wisconsin’s podcast.

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