Wisconsin State Senate Candidates Respond

Monk Elmer


Monk Elmer

Over the past 15 years both parties have found “creative ways” of balancing the budget, basically by raiding various funds. The Tobacco Settlement, Transportation, and Patient Compensation funds have been used by the State government to avoid the difficult choices we face. That has to end.

With our state facing a $2.5 billion deficit, we will need to take a line-by-line look at spending. The process used to do this will be critical for our fiscal future. The existence of a structural deficit means that as a state we must choose where we want to reduce the existing level of public services. What programs do we cut? What spending do we reduce? How we decide these fundamental questions is as important as the cuts and spending reductions themselves.

Former Governor Thompson’s Kettl Commission provides a roadmap for our state. State and local partnerships that focus on reducing duplication of services and focus on the value we get for the money we spend. It describes a fundamental change in the culture of Wisconsin’s government. It means driving the decision making and spending decisions to the local level.

I will be at the table with Republicans and Democrats as we discuss our state’s shared revenue formulas and revenue caps. We need to find ways to give local control to those who are responsible for providing the public services critical to our citizens. A state-local partnership will drive the system. Wisconsin’s citizens deserve efficient, performance-driven government.

Performance-driven government brings value to the taxpayer. Value being the cost and quality of the services provided. I have had extensive experience at bringing value to healthcare and education. As the Kimberly Board of Education President I have made sure we focus on value in education. We are in the lowest 10 percent of per-pupil spending in the state, while our academic achievement was recently recognized by Newsweek magazine as being one of the top 1,000 high schools in the country.

Thedacare, the healthcare system where I work and serve in a leadership position, is nationally and internationally recognized for value in health care. We have taken 25 million dollars out of the cost of our care in the last three years. We haven’t fired anyone; we have just redesigned our service delivery to remove waste and inefficiency. We have achieved statewide recognition for the high quality of care we provide. We provide value to our customers. That is the perspective I will take to Madison. We need to focus on value in our educational system, in our healthcare and our state government spending.

Frank Lasee


Frank Lasee

The cause of Wisconsin’s three billion dollar budget crisis is too much spending. Wisconsin is one of the most highly taxed states in the nation. We already tax too much. We can’t go back and ask already strapped families and job-creating businesses for more. Not raising taxes is one of the keys to getting Wisconsin working again. Cutting taxes would be even better. First we must control spending and balance our budget.

The legislature will balance our budget by having the discipline to not start new programs or grow programs we already have. By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, I’ve committed in writing to vote against tax increases. The solution must come from spending control.

Right now the pay and benefit packages of state employees is more generous than those they work for in the private sector. We should not overpay nor should we underpay. Getting compensation in line will save tens of millions. We should rein in the state’s costly program of land acquisition, 24 percent of the land in Wisconsin is already owned by governments. We should only purchase the best properties and consider selling some of our government land to private owners. We must get the fraud-laden Wisconsin Shares welfare program under control. This will save millions.

If the Governor and Legislature cannot arrive at a solution using targeted, fair and prioritized spending controls, then the solution must be across-the-board spending reductions. I prefer targeted spending actions, but would support across-the-board actions before imposing more taxes.