MacIver Institute Optimistic Wisconsin’s Dismal Rankings in Cost of Government Survey Will Improve Due to Recent Changes in Madison

MacIver News Service | August 12, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] American’s for Tax Reform announced that today is Cost of Government Day. Working people must toil 224 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government, a full 27 days longer than in 2008.

As depressing as that news is, it is even worse for Wisconsinites. The cost of government day for Badgerland is not until August 18, a tie for the fifth latest date of any state in the nation.

The milestone comes two days prior to last year’s revised date of August 14.

“Taxpayers have reason to hope the escalating cost of government may not be inevitable,” said American for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist and Center for Fiscal Accountability’s Mattie Corrao, co sponsor of the report. “After working through half of the fiscal year without a budget, Congress authorized Fiscal Year 2011 funding levels that cut almost $40 billion from the previous year’s spending—the first time a continuing resolution has done so.”

Wisconsin’s national ranking slipped five spots in the since last year, due mainly to increased spending in the final state budget drafted by former Governor Doyle.

“With the recent change in public employee labor law, and a new found commitment to fiscal restraint in the most recent state budget, we’re optimistic Wisconsin’s rankings will improve in the next few years,” said MacIver Institute President Brett Healy.  “But we sure have a long way to go.”

The MacIver Institute is the sponsoring organization of the MacIver News Service.

Some highlights from the American’s for Tax Reform study:

Federal Spending

  • The average American worker will have to labor 103 days just to pay for federal spending, which consumes 28.15 percent of net national product. Last year, individuals had to work 105 days to pay off federal spending and 102 days in 2009
  • The decrease from 2010 may be attributed to reaching the peak of “stimulus” spending as well as renewed efforts to cut spending at the opening of the 112th Congress
  • Coupled with the longest recession since the Great Depression, federal spending as a share of the national economy remains at a three-year high since the first COGD report in 1977

State and Local Spending (Average)

  • Likely due to increased federal assistance, independent state and local spending has decreased since 2008
  • In 2011, the average American has to work 44.2 days to pay for state and local expenditures—roughly the same number of days in 2010 and one day less than the 45.4 days worked in 2009

Regulatory Spending

  • The average American must labor 77 days in 2011 just to cover the cost of government regulations—identical to the 77 days worked in 2010 and slightly less than the 79 days worked in 2009
  • 2011 regulations will consume 21.2 percent of net national product which, compared to 16.1 percent ten years ago in 2001, is a 31.6 percent increase in the regulatory burden within only 10 years

Every year, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and the Center for Fiscal Accountability calculate Cost of Government Day. This is the day on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels.

For more information, click here.