Charyl Zehfus Column: Green Right to Seek Cuts in Spending

Confident and clear, Republican candidate Mark Green delivered an important part of his campaign message during the “We the People 2006 Gubernatorial Forum” on Sept. 14.

Green preached his gospel of lowering taxes to cure Wisconsin’s economic woes during the debate with Gov. Jim Doyle that focused on taxation and the economy.

Green is right. Unbridled government spending drives higher taxes. And higher taxes, along with high liability and regulatory costs, scare away businesses that would create new jobs. Therefore, Green’s goal of slowing the growth of government spending in Wisconsin is crucial to the state’s economic vitality.

Green reassured listeners that slowing government’s growth would not mean “cuts that would devastate education,” as Doyle asserted in the forum. Doyle tried to make his opponent’s goal appear extreme by invoking fear about education’s funding numerous times. But as governor, Green said he would steady the government’s growth to keep it from trampling Wisconsin’s economy. Not gut education.

I am tired of politicians who pit business against education. Successful businesses feed education in many ways, providing employment and prosperity to parents, products and services to families, and more children to fill the schools, which brings additional tax dollars. Likewise, good education feeds business with smart, capable employees, and creative entrepreneurs.

Green understands the symbiotic relationship of business prosperity and education. That is why he aims to remove barriers to corporate success, while investing in K-12 education to create graduates with up-to-date skills.

So, once we educate our young people, how can we get the grads to want to stay in Wisconsin?

A person from Milwaukee posed this important question. Green replied that our college grads currently pay 10 percent more taxes and earn 10 percent less than in other places. Of course, the answer would be to lower taxes — so companies can pay more in wages and employees keep more of what they earn.

Doyle tried to look good answering the same questions on taxes and the economy. But, put on the defensive by Green’s strong message, the flustered governor finally said, “He keeps saying I think taxes are OK. Obviously, I don’t.”

In fact, Doyle’s veto record shows he is not friendly to business, which translates into less prosperity for all. Understandably, the governor tried to appear otherwise, patting himself on the back with the successes of one or two pet companies of his. But a couple of happy companies are not enough.

Green recently pledged to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization to sign the taxation and legal system reforms Gov. Doyle has continued to veto.

Green has proven his commitment to tax relief. He earned a 92 percent approval rating from Americans for Tax Reform and 71 percent from FreedomWorks for his votes in Washington