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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Welcome Mike Gousha Viewers!

by folkbum

(Updated: If you missed the show, our segment is online here.)

I'm quite certain that tens of thousands of people all across the state are waking up this morning and watching "UpFront with Mike Gousha" and, impressed by my madd debating skillz, are immediately firing up teh great gizoogle and finding this here blog.

Owen and I had about 4 seconds to debate about a million things, so I thought I would add a few things here that I didn't get to say.

I spent the most time boning up on the sate budget and was able to get the fewest of my talking points in about that topic. In fact, the more I read up on the budget, the more impressed I was with it.

Owen's a bit lucky that Republican talking points on the budget are easily reducible to the lazy conservative dog whistles: increased spending, benefits for gays, illegal immigrants, blahdy blah blah blah.

The truth about the budget is a bit more wonky and a bit more important to the actual real lives of people across the state. For example, the budget was done on time this year for the first time since 1977. In these difficult economic times--indeed, in worsening economic times, as the revenue news was revised downward several times since the beginning of the year--Democrats were able to come together and get a budget done on time.

It's also a budget that does not raise the sales tax, income tax (for 99% of people), property tax, or gas tax. State workers and state agencies took a big hit so that education and shared revenue could be spared the worst. The spending from General Purpose Revenue--the big pot of tax dollars the state collects from you and me--is lower, in real dollars, in actual total dollars spent, in this budget than in the previous one, but 2.5%. The total increase in spending (yes, $61b for 09-11 is larger than the $58b for 07-09) is almost entirely accounted for by federal stimulus dollars, not tax increases--and don't let the Republicans tell you any differently. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated that the median home's property taxes would increase a grand total of just $94 if schools and municipalities taxed to the max under revenue limits.

Wonky, yes. But also worth being proud of--and not something that petty little issues like gay-bashing and immigrant-bashing should be allowed to overcome.

As for Jim Doyle, and whether he's running for re-election, I will reiterate what I said on the show: No one has told me any differently. However, Doyle has indeed been invisible lately, not even taking much credit for the budget. Some Democrats have expressed quite a bit of displeasure over Doyle's relative absence lately, and they have a legitimate beef. However, if you remember four years ago, Doyle was perfectly happy just to go about doing his job and letting his opponents beat each other up. I firmly believe the Republican primary will get ugly, soon, and I will be happy to watch that happen. So will Jim Doyle.

UPDATED to add something else: One other thing I wanted to say on the show but that I didn't is that the single toughest opponent Jim Doyle will face next year is the economy. It doesn't matter which Republican's name is on the ballot; if the economy is still in the toilet, Doyle's re-election is less secure.

ALSO: I'm watching Mark Neumann on the program this morning, and he's taking credit for the Clinton economy of the 1990s that he voted against consistently. Ugh.

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