Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wisconsin ghost writer no more!

I wrote a piece for a colleague (minus my byline) to express objections to Wisconsin's recently-enacted budget bill.

Several of my passages on our state tax system and our over-funded education system, had to be deleted for (my colleague's) political purposes. I understand.

However, with cathartic pleasure, I'll publish some of those buried thoughts here:

"The largest recipient of state appropriations from the general fund continues to be publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools. According to a fall 2008 analysis by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, enrollment in public schools declined for five consecutive years and declined precipitously (greater than 20%) in 51 districts.

Yet, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects a statewide $200 per student increase in the current biennium. Due to the manner in which public schools are funded, that increase in spending, coupled with a decrease in state aid, will be back filled by higher school property tax levies of hundreds of millions of dollars."

And part of my (deleted) prescription for fiscal healing...

"Consolidate school districts, local government units, and municipal services.  Privatize state-owned assets where it makes economic sense to do so. Shift more tax burden from property and income taxes to consumption taxes, to attract investment."