The Dangers of Tony Evers First Budget Proposal

Gordy Leech

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As a fresh 18 year old, I try to approach politics with a nonpartisan and open minded attitude. I want to establish the principle of being an observant, and seeing how a representative, governor, chairman…etc. takes actions to make judgement rather than the color they ran under. I took this approach with Donald Trump in 2016, and I pledged to myself to take it this past year in the gubernatorial race. Tony Evers may not have won my ineligible vote at the time of elections, but that doesn’t mean I was to swear him off day 1. However, given his actions he has taken thus far, I believe it’s time to do a reality check.

Campaign promises are important in an election. The fulfillment of these builds a base of the officials ethos. It determines if they can walk the talk as well. Wisconsin Governor, Tony Evers seems to be losing my confidence. One of his “promises” were to raise no taxes and to cut the middle class taxes by 10%. As a fiscal conservative, these were a step in the right direction, however his recent budget proposal may annul his previous promises. Unfortunately, Wisconsin State Journal analysts believe that the budget would require an additional $1.16 billion in increased taxes. Let’s take a look into this budget.

Evers is proposing to increase the funding for medicaid by covering all Wisconsin residents with incomes 0-138% of the federal poverty level. Inside of this, you also see plans to decrease the costs of prescription drugs, injecting $365 million dollars into hospitals that served patients on medicaid, and establishing a dental provider to address dental shortages in WIsconsin. According to diagrams within the proposal, there appears to be a dental shortage. On a macroeconomics level, there are shortages for workers all across the United States. Rather than through a government proposal and increased taxes on citizens, the free-market is at work, solving these shortages, posting 3.4% increase in wages for workers in January in the latest jobs report. It might be best to allow Wisconsin dental providers to reflect the shortage through the demands of consumer and allow wages to incrementally rise, drawing more dental coverage to the state, allowing for a more efficient and natural solution to the dental problem outlined in the budget proposal.  

Evers is also proposing $200 million to be allocated towards the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan to insure high cost individuals “across all healthcare exchanges.” The only issue this creates is costs will rise for everyone as more high costs individuals are taken on by the insurers either directly through the cost of our own insurance or indirectly through increased taxes and fees.

We also see a call for decriminalizing marijuana in Wisconsin. For some reason this falls under his category of “Safe and Just Communities.” Lots of other drug crime can be pled down to marijuana charges, and there is lots of crime surrounding distribution and use of the drug that may not result in safer communities by decriminalizing it.

Economists from the Center of American Experiment have found that increased spending in schools isn’t what equates to better outcomes. We’ve seen this over the course of American history, and just as recently in their report in 2017. Roughly $620 million of funding is going towards general aid for our schools. The proposal asks for a requirement of $3,000 of funding per pupil as a minimum. This funding may result in no substantive change, but end up going from the left hand to the right, with the weight being a little lighter after the transfer.

Additionally, schools allowed to participate in the parental choice program may decrease by requiring participating schools to now be fully accredited rather than pre accredited. This is only going to lower the amount of participants in the market, and constrict the market and options for parents to choose for their kids. All the teachers are also going to have to be licensed by 2022, which tightens the choices for available teachers and places a market ceiling in a situation where the schools are already selecting who they believe the best candidate is for the job. These proposals can’t do anything but hurt the students and their future progress.

Additional TANF benefits are suggested in the proposal. TANF is essentially welfare spending for things like food stamps. If we are to ever end cyclical poverty, we must reduce the spending on welfare. This moral hazard is why people don’t escape. Before the welfare state was massively expanded upon in the 1960’s we saw low teen unemployment rates, especially in black communities. After the welfare state grew, kids begun to grow up fatherless, it became harder for teens to get the jobs that only justify below minimum-wage wages, and we begin to see a reversal in the tide of progress for poor americans. The best way to analyze policy is by the incentives it creates, rather than the outcomes that are desired. The increased welfare spending reflects decreased incentives to climb out of poverty, and to reconstruct a stronger lower class.

Evers proposed budget makes me begin to have a negative sentiment on his tenure in office. It seems to be inefficient, compulsory, and unnecessary, even to the point of where it could hurt Wisconsin residents, especially the poor, most affected by TANF and decreased educational alternatives. Ever’s credibility and character is damaged by his recent budget proposal, likely failing to uphold his promise on holding taxes and even cutting them for middle class, as we see increases in an already debt riddled system.