I went to my first Lincoln Day Dinner last night for Racine County, WI. We had the pleasure of listening to 3 great speakers – Paul Ryan, who represents my district in Congress, WI Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen (who apparently was the only candidate last Nov to flip a democratic seat in the entire state), and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who will hopefully be the GOP candidate for Governor.
The event was rather intimate – just about 80 people. I sat at the table next to Paul Ryan. Did I feel like a teenage girl with front row seats to a Jonas Bros. concert? Well, maybe not quite, but it was really pretty darn cool. In fact, this was the highest ranking political figure I’ve ever seen in real life (i.e. not on TV). I had never seen a congressman before this, and I’ve still never seen a senator, VP, or Pres in person. Paul Ryan may ultimately have all 4 of these under his belt before things are said and done. But I digress.
This post isn’t really about Paul Ryan, but he did say he’ll have his own federal budget proposal out in about 2 weeks. It’s something we should all look forward to.
Who I really want to talk about is Scott Walker, current Milwaukee County Executive, and likely candidate for Governor in 2010. Scott is a strong conservative, who opposed the bailout and and opposes tax increases. He has not raised taxes in the 6 years that he’s been in office, and is strongly pro-business. He caused an absolute commotion when he refused to submit a wishlist for the federal stimulus money.
The current governor of Wisconsin is Jim Doyle. He defeated his Republican rival in 2006 53% to 45%. He won his initial election in 2002 45% to 41%. A poll from Feb puts Doyle ahead 50-43, which is good news for Scott given that he’s relatively unknown outside the Milwaukee metro area. Doyle has mediocre approval ratings and has left the state finances in shambles. Wisconsin has one of the largest budget gaps as a percentage of the general fund in the country, and a potential overall deficit of over 5 billion by 2011. This would be the worst deficit in the history of the state.
From the Racine Journal Times, reporting on last night’s event:
Friday [Walker] repeatedly told an audience of about 80 that Doyle’s “failed leadership and inability to make tough decisions” are largely responsible for the state’s daunting budget deficit. That deficit, estimated at $5.7 billion for the next biennium, is the nation’s fourth-largest, Walker said.
He said Doyle’s budget proposal would take $2.5 billion of the federal stimulus money to help plug that gaping hole and add almost $3 billion in new taxes.
“This governor’s taking us down the wrong path at the wrong time for the wrong reasons,” Walker said.
“History has shown us how to get out of this (recession),” he said: with tax cuts.
4th largest deficit…anybody that knows their geography realizes that Wisconsin isn’t the 4th largest state; nor do we have the nation’s 4th largest economy. Train wreck.
Scott Walker has suggested suspending the state’s 5% sales tax through the end of the year. This would draw shoppers from all the surrounding states, including Illinois and therefore Chicago. Says Walker:
“We would put Wisconsin on the map as an economic haven.”
I’m a FIB* – I was was born in Illinois and spent 28 years of my life there. But I moved to Wisconsin** almost 4 years ago, and I support anything any anybody who wants to lower our taxes and build the economy in our state. This state leans liberal, but not so far that common sense has been thrown out the window. Scott Walker can win this election, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting Scott Walker for Governor of Wisconsin in 2010.
**However, I’m still a Bears and a Cubs fan. Hey, it’s in my blood…you can’t change that.