Wisconsin Speaker Scott Jensen Earns Hero Award 

WASHINGTON – As the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly meet in conference to finalize the budget, Speaker Scott Jensen earns Americans for Tax Reform\’s Hero of the Taxpayer Award for his efforts to limit the growth of state government.  The Democratic-controlled Senate would rather raise taxes to accommodate an explosion of spending. 

For his actions in the Wisconsin Assembly, Americans for Tax Reform proudly awards Speaker Scott Jensen "Hero of the Taxpayer," an award honoring individuals who seek to defend the interests of taxpayers by limiting the growth of government spending. 

Taxpayer enemies in the Senate recently approved $350 million in targeted tax increases on items such as cigarettes and computer software.  State Senate President Fred Risser (D – Madison) made his position on increasing taxes clear when he stated he has "no problems increasing so-called sin taxes." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/20/01).  These so-called sin taxes are regressive because they burden lower-income taxpayers more than they burden those, like Senate President Risser, who can easily afford a tax increase. 

Although the Senate chose to raise taxes, the Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Scott Jensen, stood firm in an attempt to reduce spending.  The Assembly proposal includes ending the 5% sales tax on specialized computer software, a tax that the Senate voted to extend.  The Assembly proposal would exempt military pensions from state income taxes, and would not increase taxes on tobacco products.  The Senate voted to increase corporate income taxes and taxes on software technology and landfills, in addition to increasing taxes on cigarettes by 22 cents.  Is there any sector of the Wisconsin economy safe from the state\’s tax-and-spend Senate? 

"It is the height of hypocrisy to use a slowing economy as a reason to raise taxes as the Wisconsin Senate has done," remarked Damon B. Ansell, VP for Policy at ATR.  "To take much-needed income away from families by forcing them to pay higher taxes is ludicrous and only makes sense to tax-and-spend politicians who don\’t have to worry about balancing their own checkbook," concluded Ansell. 

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, remarked: "If legislators were serious about balancing the budget they would reduce spending.  History has proven that Keynesian economics, that is, government spending its way out of an economic slowdown, to be fallacious theory."