Part two in my series on Terri McCormick’s voting record and governing philosophy delves into McCormick’s record on spending. McCormick, as you probably know, is running for the 8th Congressional District as a libertarian/conservative Republican.
The proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) would have codified in the state constitution a requirement that state and local units of government keep spending increases in line with increases in property value (or inflation) within their jurisdiction. Any increase out of that boundary would have to be approved by voters in a referendum.
A very important issue for conservatism, I supported TABOR and wish it would have passed. In fact, had Wisconsin had the foresight to pass and maintain real constitutional spending controls, one could easily argue that we would not be facing the $2.7 billion deficit predicament we’re in today as a state.
TABOR, despite all of the demonization from government interests, unions and Wisconsin’s tax-taking class, would have directly empowered the individual voter to determine the size of their government and the magnitude of their tax increase over the year or biennium ahead.
Such a proposal was considered and received a vote in the State Legislature in 2006. It failed miserably – and Terri McCormick voted against it twice.
Two versions of TABOR (re-branded as the “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” in 2005) were considered by the State Assembly. The first version (failed miserably) would have capped state and local spending, and the second (passed narrowly) would have capped state government spending only.
Most elected officials are not disposed to bravery – I think we know that – and local elected officials become very obnoxious when someone approaches their ox (or fiefdom) with a tight-fitting corset. So I can even understand how a legislator could vote no on the first one.
But why not limit state spending? Why not give voters an opportunity to weigh in on state spending? I wonder what the folks over at the Republican Liberty Caucus would think about this very un-libertarian vote.
Despite all of this, McCormick is casting herself as a spending hawk. I believe that is dishonest.
McCormick Voted for Every Budget
McCormick served in the Assembly for six years. In that time, she managed to vote for all thee of the budgets that were enacted during her term – along with a truly abysmal budget repair bill in 2001. This is hardly the mark of a maverick.
So, what did McCormick vote for in these budget packages?
In 2001, she voted for a 77-cent per pack cigarette tax increase.
She also voted in favor of a $112 million increase in the Stewardship program, one of the most wasteful and profligate programs in Madison’s portfolio. Stewardship uses the government purchase of private property to do a number of great things – like preserving beautiful lands for future generations and then prohibiting those generations from accessing them, taking valuable land off of the tax rolls and depriving local governments of legitimate revenue, and generally expanding the size and reach of the tentacles of government. Making matters worse, every penny of this $112 million was borrowed – making hollow any commitment to reducing long-term debt.
McCormick even favored the much maligned and boldly stupid securitization of Wisconsin’s share of the tobacco settlement.
I just want Terri McCormick to be honest with 8th CD Republican primary voters about her true governing philosophy. She claims to be an anti-establishment conservative, but the votes she took (three budgets, a budget repair bill and anti-TABOR) are all about preserving the status quo. She has no credibility to call herself any sort of maverick or renegade.
And a libertarian she most assuredly is not.