Saturday, September 16, 2006

Analyzing the debate

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had done a pretty good job in analyzing last night's debate.

First things first- In part of his opening statement Mark Green stated:

"I think you're going to hear a lot tonight of pointing fingers toward Washington, toward the Legislature, toward past governors. But when you're governor, you're CEO. I think when a governor spends more of his time pointing the fingers elsewhere, it says more about him than it says about me," said Green.

And Governor Doyle walked into this trap over and over and over again. He blamed Washington, he blamed the legislature, and he blamed past governors.

The fact the Congressman Green brought this out at the very beginning of the debate was perfect. True to form, Governor Doyle continued to blame Washington.

Do you remember how Doyle kept telling us to "look it up" when he talked about the state's budget deficits?

Well apparently the MJS did look it up and this is what they discovered-

Doyle and Green sparred continuously over the tax and spending picture in the state, which has changed in these ways since the Democrat took office:

Property taxes: About $8.3 billion was levied in property taxes last December, although tax credits offset $586 million of that, which lowered the total actually paid by property owners to $7.7 billion. That is a $1.3 billion increase from December 2001.

But Doyle said he rewrote the state budget in 2005 in a way that froze property taxes on the median-valued home - a tax bill that was $2,730 last December. And because of his budget vetoes, that $2,730 bill will not go up this December, the governor added.

State spending: Spending in the state's general fund, which is state government's main checking account, totaled $12.74 billion last year - up $1.4 billion, or about 13% - since Doyle took office, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

State debt: State government's general debt, which is borrowing not guaranteed by specific fees, now totals $5 billion - up about $750 million, or 17%, since Doyle took office, according to the Fiscal Bureau.

This is not exactly the pretty picture that Doyle wants voters to know this November.

Governor Doyle actually admitted last night to increasing the state's debt:

But Doyle said he issued more debt to protect schools and provide a 16% increase in transportation spending.

The best question of the night came from Mr. Orville Bean:

One of the most pointed questions came from Orville Beene, 67, of Brown Deer, who asked the candidates what they would do to help reverse Milwaukee County's loss of manufacturing and other high-paying jobs. Beene said he worked for Pabst Brewery when it cut back its Milwaukee brewery in the 1997. He said plants "are closing all over the place."

Doyle cited the nationwide erosion in manufacturing, blaming policies of the Bush administration and Congress. He called for tax breaks for employers to move to high unemployment areas.

"I spend a lot of time in Milwaukee," Doyle said. "We have worked hard in Milwaukee to turn it around."

This came at a time right after Doyle was bragging about creating 170,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. Doyle's answer to Mr. Beene's question- it is someone else's fault and he is working hard in Milwaukee.

Unfortunately for Governor Doyle, he provided no answers to Mr. Beene about what he plans on doing to fix the problems in Milwaukee.

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