The state of Wisconsin regularly reports having a budget surplus at the end of every fiscal year. It is also often promoted as a way to showcase that the current government has handled the state finances properly and was able to implement cost saving measures or to show that the government is overtaxing. The surplus is then either returned to the tax payers or saved for next year’s spending with corresponding tax cuts. Having an excess of funds for the government is always better than a deficit, but can we really call it a surplus when we have so much debt?
The state government alone is over $22 billion in debt. Every year, our government borrows money to fund itself, and you cannot have an excess of funds while at the same time piling up massive amounts of debt. So how can the state of Wisconsin honestly claim that is has a surplus of $112 million to give back? The simple answer is it can’t. It does not have an excess of funds to give back. The current “surplus” is not even going to be reimbursed to all tax payers. It is going to a targeted demographic that are most likely swing voters to win over before the next election. Let’s add in the cost of nearly a million dollars in administrative costs and this plan to give it back seems even less reasonable. The state wants the common voter to believe it has more revenue than debt. In reality, the state borrowed more than it budgeted in order to run the government for one year, but still has significant debt to pay down.
My Approach – Pay Down Debt
Tax payers save when the debt is paid down. One of the smartest things a homeowner can do is pay additional payments until the debt is gone. An extra payment towards the principal not only decreases the length of time the debt is owed, but also reduces the amount of interest to be paid on the debt. The state of Wisconsin needs to do the same with existing debt. What the state needs to do and I, as your representative, would do is support taking every dollar not spent at the end of the year and use it to pay down our massive debt benefiting all tax payers equally.