The June 14th show featured a discussion of the budget with a variety of perspectives. Worth watching here.
How can the state raise sufficient revenue to pay for services while not discouraging business investment in the state or individual incentives? Do policies that encourage businesses benefit the citizens generally or do they provide private gains primarily to company owners? Should the state subsidize business in either case?
The left argues that state services must protect the needy and provide valuable public goods, such as health care, education and environmental protection. How can the left provide revenue for such policies when the growth in costs outstrip the growth in revenue sources? Is it possible to base taxes on out of state interests (e.g. gas companies) to shield state taxpayers? Or can minority interests (e.g. smokers, who make up only 22% of Wisconsin citizens) be taxed at high rates while majority interests (e.g. sales or general income taxes) are shielded?
"Interest Groups" dominate lobbying at the capital. The also provide the bulk of campaign contributions. There is much talk of limiting that influence by public financing of elections. But these groups also represent crucially important constituencies in the state-- teachers, manufacturers, construction companies, agriculture, taverns (<;-) ). When is an interest group a "special" interest, and when does it represent a critical component of the state's economy and population which deserves to influence legislation? How would state government look if legislators were free to ignore all interest group activity? Would representative government be better, worse, or essentially the same?