Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kanavas Column: My Friend the Lawyer

I was at an event in Milwaukee last week and I bumped into a prominent local attorney. Many of his clients are the types of businesses that drive our economy; the small and midsized companies that employ anywhere from 10 to upwards of 500 or so people. These companies are established businesses, supporting real Wisconsin families. The conversation immediately turned to the budget and I asked him what his thoughts were on Wisconsin’s business climate and how he thought the budget was going to affect it.

From my perspective, as a businessman and legislator, the conversation did not go well. He was quick to point out that several of his clients were soon leaving the state. Two companies in particular have plans to move to Texas or the southwest. This comes at no surprise of course. Texas has no state income tax and has been adopting policies that favor business growth and job creation for years. What was a surprise though, was that both of his clients mentioned Governor Doyle’s budget as a contributing factor in their decision to leave.

I’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls, letters and emails about the budget over the last few months. Often the caller or writer will say something like “I just can’t take it anymore,” “our taxes are too high,” “I can’t afford to live here any longer,” or “I’ll be forced to leave this state if this budget becomes law.” I’ve heard it, I’ve read it, but I’ve wondered how many people are going to actually do it?

The conversation with my lawyer-friend was proof it was really happening. We have reached the point where businesses, which means jobs and people, are leaving Wisconsin because of what the Democrats have done and are doing in Madison. Unfortunately, when these companies do leave it isn’t going to be like General Motors; splashed over the front page of the newspaper. These businesses are going to quietly tip-toe out of town and the employees are either going to be out of work or moving out of state.

This scenario is a disaster, and it’s a disaster for a reason that may not be on the top of your mind. Not only does it mean that the Democrats unfettered control of the state legislature and governor’s mansion is driving people away from our state, but it also means things are only going to get worse.

I know it’s hard to imagine a situation worse than the one we’re in right now. The Governor just signed a budget bill containing $2.1 billion in new taxes and fees, increased spending by 6.8% and allowed property taxes to go up by $1.5 billion. Couple that with the state’s unemployment rate at roughly 9% and you would think we could only improve from here. But let’s not forget those companies we just forced out of town. They will have an impact on our future.

When the companies leave they’ll take their tax dollars with them. Those companies will not be paying property taxes or corporate income taxes. Their employees will not be paying property taxes on their homes or personal income taxes.

So what happens next year when the state crunches the numbers and discovers that fewer companies and fewer people paid taxes in Wisconsin? The situation will be worse. Deficits will be greater. The unemployment rate will be higher. These numbers will not go down until we change the way we do business. The economy is falling apart around us, and here in Wisconsin we raised taxes by $5 billion since January, grew the size of government and increased state spending.

People have to take a long hard look at the policies being pursued in Madison and realize they just don’t work. Our state is going to experience a net out-migration of producers and a net in-migration of people who are more dependent on government.

We are killing our economy and our future.

If we don’t change and change soon, I may bump into my lawyer friend again, but it just might be in Texas.

Monday, June 29, 2009

4th of July Activities

I already kicked of my annual 4th of July parade circuit.

On Sunday, I took some time away from volunteering at GreekFest, and walked in the Hartland 4th of July Parade. It was a great crowd as usual. I saw some old friends and enjoyed the beautiful walk down Main Street.

Later in the week I will be in parades in Oconomowoc, Menomonee Falls, the Town of Brookfield, City of Brookfield, Hartford and Pewaukee. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year.

I have attached some links from the Channel 4 website (below) so you can find the celebration nearest you.

Waukesha County:


Washington County:


I hope to see you out there celebrating America!

Budget Vetoes

Governor Doyle signed the state budget today. It's official, the Democrats have raised taxes by $4.8 billion since January.

If you want to read the Governor's spin, you may read his veto message by following the link below:


Friday, June 26, 2009

Kanavas Casts Vote Against State Budget

(Madison, WI)…State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) released the following statement after casting his vote against the Democrat’s 2009-2011 State Budget Conference Report:

“People across the state are going to be shocked tomorrow when they read the morning paper. The Senate Democrats used a late night session to punish taxpayers by passing $2.1 billion in new tax increases and $1.5 billion in property tax increases; sparing no one.

“The state took a gigantic step backwards tonight. Plain and simple, this budget is going to make it harder for Wisconsin’s economy to turn around and it will make it nearly impossible for any job growth to occur over the next 12-18 months.

“One thing is for certain; we’ll be back here in less than a year to fix the mess they’ve made.”

In all, the Democrats 2009-2011 state budget raises taxes by $2.1 billion, raises property taxes by $1.5 billion, and increases spending by 6.8%. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 17-16.

To learn more about Senator Kanavas or the 33rd Senate District, please visit his website at: www.senatorkanavas.com.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Your State Budget!!!

Here are the budget numbers from the conference report (the state budget agreement).

All fund spending...6.8% increase!
New taxes and fees...$2.1billion!
Property Tax increase...1.5 billion!
Borrowing...$2.9 billion!

All told with Act 2 (the mini budget passed in February) the Democrats have raised taxes $4.8 billion in the last six months!!!

This is disgusting!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Website

The redesign on my state website is now complete.

I just uploaded some video clips from Wednesday night's budget debate. Feel free to take a look around, read my recent press statements and releases and sign up for my e-mail update list.

Just go to www.senatorkanavas.com or click on the link below to check it out:


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I voted 'NO' on the state budget

The State Senate just took the vote for final passage of the budget. I voted no. Despite numerous attempts by my Republican colleagues and I to amend the bill, all Senate Democrats voted in a block, and defeated all of them.

The problems with this budget bill are too many to get into tonight (like the $48 million in pork). We'll have to wait and see what they come up with during the conference committee.

PS- I am going to vote against that too!

Here is the release I sent from the office:


Kanavas Votes Against State Budget

(Madison, WI)…State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) released the following statement in response to his vote against the 2009-2011 State Budget:

“Senate Democrats are claiming to look out for taxpayers but the budget they just passed drops the ACME anvil on our hard-working citizens.

The Democrats did what was nearly impossible, they managed to take a horrible budget and make it worse. This bill is riddled with billions of tax and fee increases, highlighted by a new $485.6 million tax on capital gains.

Capital gains were paid by 248,000 Wisconsin tax-filers last year hitting small businesses disproportionately hard. Small businesses are the engine of economic growth in our state and the capital gains tax provision is exactly the wrong thing to do at exactly the wrong time.”

To learn more about Senator Kanavas or the 33rd Senate District, please visit his website at: www.senatorkanavas.com.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Senate Calendar for June 9, 2009

The Senate is in session tomorrow morning beginning at 11:00am. If you would like to take a look at the calendar ahead of time, or follow along tomorrow as we proceed, simply follow this link:


Friday, June 5, 2009

Kanavas Column: It's Because We're not Growing!

Billions of dollars in debt, cuts in state programs, businesses laying off workers, moving out, closing down. This sums up the state of the State. At some point we have to ask ourselves how did this happen? How did we get here?

Obviously this problem didn’t just sneak up on us. Over the past six years or so, every time Governor Doyle gave a major speech about the economy or delivered his budget address he touched on the same themes: times are tough; everyone must sacrifice; we must tighten our belts. It’s almost as if he thought by shinning a light on the situation, then Wisconsinites, and more importantly, voters would not hold him accountable for our problems.

If we credit the Governor for sounding the alarm, must we not then ask what has he done to put out the fire? If you looked back at the budget he and the Democrats proposed two years ago, you would discover that while the alarms had sounded, the budget contained $1.78 billion in tax and fee increases in addition to a $1.2 billion property tax increase. I wouldn’t call that belt tightening. Nor do I believe that this year’s budget is any different.

During his budget address this February, Governor Doyle mentioned the words cut, cuts, or cutting over 40 times. His budget, however, actually raises taxes by $1.7 billion and increases spending by an astounding 7.7%. These tax increases, on everything from gasoline, to hospitals, to phone bills are what are really killing our economy and preventing us from growing.

Ultimately, that’s the problem, we’re not growing.

If Wisconsin had a tax climate that encouraged growth, and invited people and businesses to relocate here, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today. If our population increased at a steady rate, the influx of taxpayers and their tax dollars would help us survive the tough times. Governor Doyle and his tax-hiking record in office have stifled growth and created our current problems.

Despite the Governor’s claims that our lack of economic growth is a national issue, it isn’t. Let’s use the example of North Dakota. North Dakota’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased 7.3% in the first quarter of this year. Not surprisingly, North Dakota started their legislative session with a $1.2 billion surplus. Wisconsin’s GDP grew by 0.07% and our state is billions in the hole.

Each time the Governor and the Democrats raise taxes, another family or another business has to figure out how to pay for it. At a time when personal income rate is stagnant if not declining, and bottom lines are bottoming out, people are forced to decide if they can afford to stay in Wisconsin. And you can forget about people moving here to pick up the slack, it’s just not happening.

If we don’t institute policies that reverse the course we are on; if we don’t grow; we’ll never get out from under our mountains of debt. Growth in our economy and population and our ability to pay our bills are directly related. The Governor can blame Wisconsin’s problems on a national crisis, but in reality it’s a Wisconsin crisis.

The alarm sounded long ago, but the fire is still burning.