Wisconsin is not alone with its budget problems

While we in Wisconsin battle over our state budget issues, I’ve been reading a bit about how other states and municipalities are handling their issues. We’re certainly not alone here in America’s Dairyland, and it’s interesting to contrast Gov. Walker’s solutions to those of other governors and city leaders. Here’s what I found:

Illinois – Last month Illinois lawmakers approved massive tax hikes, including a 66% increase in personal income tax and 45% increase in corporate income taxes. Now Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has unveiled a new budget that requires his state to borrow another $8.7 billion to make ends meet.

New York — Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has proposed the layoff of 9,800 state workers.

New York, NY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) said Thursday that he may need to move forward with his plan of laying off 4,666 teachers, plus an additional loss of 1,500 jobs through attrition.

Camden, NJ — Last month the mayor in Camden announced layoffs of almost half the city’s police force and almost a third of its firefighters.

California — Gov. Jerry Brown (D) imposed a hiring freeze in all state offices.

New Hampshire — Gov. John Lynch (D) revealed his budget this week, calling for the layoff of 255 state employees.

Delaware — Gov. Jack Markell (D), in his attempt to plug a $216 million budget hole, has proposed a $3.2 million cut in state employee health insurance and pension benefits. He proposal includes minimal layoffs of about 50 employees.

Texas — Gov. Rick Perry (R) proposed legislation that will layoff 100,000 school workers.

In all, 45 states have projected a 2012 budget shortfall. Of the states I mentioned, Jerry Brown’s and perhaps John Lynch’s proposals are the least drastic. Contrast that with Illinois, where they’ve resorted to significant tax increases and more borrowing.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Scott Walker during his campaign for Wisconsin’s governor. But one of the more significant issues that caused me to vote for him in November was his promise to focus on jobs. Not only does he want to do everything possible to avoid layoffs, he wants to create more jobs.

When you lay off a teacher or police officer, you reduce initial spending by not paying their salary. Fine. But now you also have a citzen who is not contributing income taxes. You’ve also got an unemployed citizen who must cut back on family finances, preventing him from spending money on things like vacations, automobiles, gasoline taxes and other goods and services. Laying people off just isn’t a good idea to solve budget problems.

We’ve got a tough situation here in Wisconsin. I support Gov. Walker and his plans to balance our budget without jeopardizing jobs.

My attempts to travel the country and talk to our leaders were not successful. Plus I have other plans for this weekend. So I depended on the internet for my information: