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As I See It

Don’t build a budget with one-time money



What to do with all that money? When the pandemic began and the economy was locked down, stock markets plunged, and tax revenues dwindled. States saw sales taxes decline as people stopped spending. There were fears deep cuts may have to be made. But now many states are enjoying a budget surplus, thanks to the booming stock market and increased consumer spending. That is before states cash the check from the federal government for pandemic relief. Wisconsin is getting $3.2 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act, and lawmakers are already fighting over how to spend it. Governor Evers has the authority to decide how the money should be spent, and he has outlined plans to provide help for small businesses, tourism, infrastructure and pandemic response. Some lawmakers in Madison argue they should know how the Governor plans to spend the money before they begin crafting a state budget. But these federal funds should not be part of the budget negotiations. We still have obligations to fund our schools, build roads, and protect our environment. This is not a slush fund. It is designed to help the state recover from the pandemic and the economic collapse. It is one time money that does not have to be spent right away. Our lawmakers should outline their priorities for spending our tax dollars with a long-term vision, not a short-term one.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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