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A letter in the July 21, 2009, Tomahawk Leader:
“I am running for state senate because of a lack of new ideas. All Tom Tiffany talks about is fiscal responsibility,” Jim Holperin said in the Rhinelander Daily News last summer. Jim stated at least a half-dozen times during last fall’s candidate debates, “None of us wants to raise taxes.”
Fast forward to this year when Holperin threw his support behind the 2009-2011 state budget that Gov. Doyle signed into law on June 28. He stated in a recent press release, “We have balanced the state budget responsibly…leaving a modest year-end surplus.” The above quotes serve as a good context to review Jim Holperin’s first six months in office as state senator.
Holperin’s first major decision as state senator was to vote for the budget repair bill in February which increased taxes on families and employers by over $2 billion. So much for the campaign promise to not raise taxes. Hometown employers like Harley-Davidson and Wisconsin’s paper mills are less competitive and more likely to shift jobs as a result.
The job-killing budget repair bill was just a warm-up for the main attraction, the recently passed state budget. Holperin voted for the following:
•Raising spending by $4 billion or nearly 7%.
•In-state tuition for illegal aliens. I do not think this needs any explaining, especially for those of you who have children or grandchildren trying to get into the UW System.
•Property taxes increasing by over $300 on the average home as a result of the state breaking its shared revenue promises to local communities. So much for protecting the middle class.
•Leaving a $2.2 billion deficit for the next budget. Saying this budget is balanced is a lie.
In Holperin’s recent budget press release he challenged those of us who disagree with the budget to list budget cuts or changes we support. I accept his challenge.
1. Expand school choice in Milwaukee and other large school districts in southeastern Wisconsin including Racine and Kenosha. Choice schools in Milwaukee are saving taxpayers millions of dollars by educating children at half the price of the failed Milwaukee Public School system.
2. Suspend stewardship funding for the next budget cycle. Savings–nearly $100 million. The Stewardship program has protected some wonderful places in Wisconsin. However, we must get back to the basics in Wisconsin until prosperity returns. Do we choose to have the DNR buy more land or educate children? Do we choose to have the DNR buy more land or repair roads?
3. Don’t raise the budget by nearly 7%! Are any of you getting 7% raises this year? Even with a budget increase of 2-3%, the savings would be in the billions.
4. Reform health care benefits for government employees. Democrat State Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer reformed how health insurance is delivered to Manitowoc County employees a few years ago. It was innovative and most importantly effective in reigning in health care costs AND providing top-notch insurance for county employees. The savings will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
So having accepted your challenge, Jim, what are your new ideas?
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