With tax revenues down and spending up, we need a haircut.
By Jack E. Lohman
With 20% of Wisconsinites either unemployed or underemployed, it is time that we reduce the size of our state legislature. It is obsolete.
That same 20% cut gives us 80 versus 99 assemblymen and 26 versus 33 senators. Actually, let’s make it a unicameral legislature with all 106 remaining Pols being in the same House and we’ll reduce the political bickering and special interest control that is costing us so dearly.
We’ve lost one congressional district and it’s time for a state haircut too. Sorry guys and gals, the economy has tanked and some of you helped it go down the tubes. You’ve obviously not been doing your job, except that you have helped make the legislature obsolete.
Look at the taxes we’d save, not just from reducing salaries but also eliminating staff, office and travel expenses and retirement benefits. ALL state offices need a haircut, and this is a good place to start.
What have these politicians done for us, anyway? Most certainly they’ve increased unnecessary special-interest spending and taxes and driven people and companies and jobs out of the state. But aside from giving us more elbow room, they have hurt our families. Badly.
Had they been on OUR payroll rather than the special interest’s that would not have occurred.
Currently all they do is play political games. And take campaign cash from industries that want not to be regulated, like the payday loan sharks and AT&T, who likes the pockets they are in but want more. I can think of many other family needs I’d rather spend my money on.
Look at the money we’d save. Millions in state salaries, of course, but the special interests would have fewer politicians to buy. And since they pass their political costs on to the consumers anyway, we’d see lower product prices and more competitive companies. Yea, this is a win-win.
Geez, maybe 30% is a better cut.
We should also:
- Cut the legislature’s summer vacation to two weeks. They should work all year as the rest of us do, or cut them to really part time and pay accordingly. We don’t need seven months to think about the next election, or to cleanse our memories of the stupid things they did last session.
- Put them on an incentive program where they can increase their incomes by decreasing unnecessary spending, waste and taxes without destroying needed government services. You know, like schools and fire and police. Government is a business; run it like one.
- Declare the two-party system what it is: collusion and an illegal, criminal conspiracy. Caucuses are counter-productive and cost taxpayer dollars. With zero parties we’d eliminate gridlock and the costly games they play to get their “gang” back in control.
- Give the politicians a public option. They can continue taking bribes — er, campaign cash — from the special interests that want in our pockets, or have their campaigns funded by the people they work for; the taxpayers. At $5 per taxpayer per year that would be one helluva bargain, even at 100 times the price.
- Implement Instant Runoff Voting, which will give the people what they want but the two-party legislature doesn’t want them to have: a fair option to vote for a third party candidate without throwing your vote away.
- And we must — absolutely must — hire an outside, unbiased efficiency analyst to review and carve away the fat in all of the government departments, even to the point of eliminating those that are obsolete.
And of the 106 politicians that are left, 80% of them ought to become unemployed in November.
I’d even go with 100%. New, independent faces. That’s a sad but necessary part of our recovery.