New Revenue Should Go to Pay Bills, Not New Spending

May 11, 2011

For Imediate Release – Contact: 262-225-3546

Brett Healy, President of the MacIver Institute released the following statement regarding the new revenue estimates that were revealed at the Capitol on Wednesday:

“While the new revenue estimates are a positive sign that Wisconsin may finally be turning the corner to a full economic recovery, this is not ‘found money’ that should now be doled out to ease the political burden lawmakers are facing. Lawmakers are tasked with putting together a responsible budget to get Wisconsin back on the path to prosperity.

“We are having a critical and fundamental debate right now in this state about the proper size and role of government. Legislators need to think about the real financial burdens facing Wisconsin families and job providers, not their own political futures. Rather than fuel new or unsustainable spending, Wisconsin lawmakers would be wise to use these funds to pay  down some of the significant outstanding debts we owe. Wisconsin owes the State of Minnesota nearly $60 million, the Patients’ Compensation Fund over $200 million and we should start to chip away at the $1.4 billion we owe the federal government for our unemployment compensation fund reserve loan.

“The worst thing that could be done would be to view this as a windfall and spend it to avoid making cuts that are necessary to our state’s long-term fiscal health. We hope lawmakers of both parties will resist the temptation to appease interest groups by adding hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Wisconsin’s already bloated budget. They have a chance to eliminate the structural deficit and right the ship of state. We hope they have the political courage to pay down the state credit card and resist the phalanx of interest groups already lining up with their hands out.”