When deciding between candidates, we have to rely mostly on their campaign promises. When a candidate promises to provide all Wisconsin residents with health care insurance, spend more on the environment, education, agriculture, and so on, it sounds like a good deal. But Wisconsin is currently in a state of financial crisis. The state has a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall. In order to overcome this shortfall, the state needs to cut spending or raise taxes. Increased spending on other areas would add to the crisis.
Luckily for the Wisconsin taxpayer, both candidates have promised not to raise taxes. How Jim Doyle could promise not to raise taxes and yet also make $2.8 billion more in campaign promises is an interesting exercise in mathematics.
Governor McCallum has a detailed plan to restore the state to fiscal solvency. Having inherited the problem when he became governor two years ago, McCallum worked hard to find solutions for the budget shortfall. He took unpopular stances in order to bring needed reform to the tax revenue distribution system of the state, though it hurt him in the polls. Unlike his opposition, Governor McCallum is not a leader who will make promises to many people that he cannot possibly afford to keep. He makes tough choices and hard decisions to improve the general welfare of the citizens of this state.
A better economy in Wisconsin would increase our tax revenues while also assuring that we can find jobs here after we graduate. Governor McCallum is committed to helping improve the state’s economy. For instance, he approved a $359,000 state training grant that resulted in Nestle, Frito-Lay and Ocean Spray deciding to invest $36 million in expanding their plants in Wisconsin.
Governor McCallum has worked hard to improve schools for Wisconsin children. Despite a budget shortfall, he refused to cut spending on education and fought to reduce class size. He brought together union leaders, business leaders and education leaders to brainstorm on how to keep a high quality of education in Wisconsin’s schools. The President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) stated, “The governor’s budget plan recognizes that every kid in every Wisconsin community deserves a great school.”
Public safety is a priority for Governor McCallum. Through his leadership, Truth-in-Sentencing was fully implemented. He will maintain funding for after-school programs that have partnerships between schools and non-profit organizations to keep Wisconsin’s children safe after school.
Scott McCallum has also been a supporter of the environment for his brief term in office. He broke with his party and rejected a proposed split of the DNR that would have reduced the effectiveness of enviromental regulation as well as cost taxpayers more money.
He also went against business lobbyists by retaining a provision in the budget that increases the dumping charges businesses must pay to landfills from 30 cents to $2.70 a ton. The increase will help fund recycling programs and also discourage other states from bringing their trash to our state.
It was good to meet Attorney General Doyle on campus last week. Had Governor McCallum been offered the same opportunity by the administration of the university, I’m sure he would have loved to speak to the student body.