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Guest opinion: Pasch's claims ring false

July 17, 2013

In a recent column State Rep. Sandy Pasch argues Wisconsin Republicans have passed a "backwards budget." The article contains numerous inaccuracies and misleading statements; therefore it's important to set the record straight.

Let's start with the statement "it gives special favors to predatory payday loan shops."

Nope. It is not in Wisconsin's 2013-2014 biennial state budget, Act 20.

How about "It hands out a massive tax break targeted towards our wealthiest residents."

Let's look at the facts. The budget cuts the lowest income tax bracket by 0.2 percent. The three middle income tax brackets are combined into two and the rate for the middle groups is cut by an average of 0.34 percent. The highest tax bracket rate is only cut by 0.1 percent.

Does this sound like a tax break targeted toward our wealthiest residents?

On education, Rep. Pasch writes the state could have increased funding for public education by $275 per pupil.

In reality, over the two-year budget, the increase is $250 to $300 per pupil. In the latest data available, Wisconsin ranks in the upper third of states in per-pupil spending.

Rep. Pasch uses the term "extreme" to describe the current state budget six times in her column and states that "they (Republicans) chose to once again ignore the will of the people."

If the will of the people is so important, why did Assembly Democrats direct employees in the Legislative Reference Bureau to draft over 200 amendments to the budget and not introduce them? Don't the people have the right to know why hundreds of staff hours were wasted drafting amendments that weren't even brought forward?

Finally, Rep. Pasch complains that "Wisconsin remains dead last in the Midwest in job growth."

Then why did she and her colleagues in the state Legislature vote against the mining bill, which is projected to bring hundreds of family supporting jobs to a part of the state that really needs them while helping businesses in southeast Wisconsin that supply the mining industry?

In reality, the two budgets passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the legislature have put Wisconsin on more sound economic footing than we have enjoyed in a long time.

We have cut taxes, frozen University of Wisconsin System tuition, stabilized the Veterans Trust Fund and addressed a $3.6 billion budget shortfall left by the previous administration.

Jim Ott (R-Mequon) is a District 23 state representative.

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