Kathleen Falk recently submitted an anecdotal piece to this newspaper which included false attacks against Gov. Scott Walker. When seated on the sidelines, it’s easy to attack and distort. It is another to submit substance and offer a plan of your own.
Now that Falk has announced her third candidacy for statewide office, I ask for her plan. What would Falk have done to balance a $3.6 billion state budget deficit?
Walker has successfully balanced one of the largest per person deficits in America without laying off a single state worker, without issuing one furlough notice, and without raising taxes on Wisconsin families. Based on Falk’s tax and spend record as Dane County executive, the evidence suggests that she would do otherwise.
Falk’s record as county executive is tarnished with an adherence to the failed policies of the past. As Dane County executive, Falk raised taxes by millions of dollars every year, most notably in 2010, when she increased taxes by 8 percent, the second highest increase across the entire state of Wisconsin.
In a national economic downturn, Wisconsin families cannot afford to have a leader with an addiction to taxing and spending. The failed policies Falk has consistently stood for throughout her career are exactly the same policies that led Wisconsin down an irresponsible path to a $3.6 billion budget deficit.
Now Falk wants Wisconsinites to trust her with their hard-earned money?
The state of Illinois is a prime example of what our state would look like today if we had continued to implement the Democrats’ failed policies. Last year, Gov. Pat Quinn and the state legislature approved a 67 percent increase in the state income tax and a 47 percent increase in the corporate tax rate. After that massive tax increase, the state is still $6.8 billion in debt with a pension system that’s less than 50 percent funded. Moody’s credit rating agency recently said that Illinois has taken “no steps to implement lasting solutions to its severe pension underfunding or to its chronic bill payment delays.” In contrast, Moody’s declared that Walker’s balanced budget was “credit positive.”
This election will be an opportunity for Walker to contrast his pro-taxpayer and pro-worker record with candidates, like Falk, who represent the past and its failures. The people of Wisconsin will have a clear choice in this election. Will they want to return to the failed policies of the past that produced billion-dollar budget deficits, furloughs for state workers, and some of the highest tax rates in the country? Or do they want to continue to move Wisconsin forward with Walker, who can point to a better business climate, a balanced state budget, the creation of thousands of private-sector jobs, and lower taxes as some of his accomplishments? When presented with the facts, there is no doubt in my mind that Wisconsin voters will reaffirm the decision they made just over one year ago.
Rebecca Kleefisch is Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor.