Mark Neumann is a small businessman, and if you don’t know that you will after listening to him stump for governor. He answers every question presented to him with a reminder that he is a businessman, he will run the state of Wisconsin as a business and make it friendlier for other businesses to locate here.
Neumann’s plan for 2010 is the same plan he had when he represented the First Congressional District in Washington back in 1994 – cut taxes and spending, Both will put more money in people’s hand to spend and stimulate the economy or to save or invest in businesses.
According to Neumann this plan has been tried and was successful during the four years he served in Congress.
“When I went to Washington we had a plan to balance the budget and we did it.”
He demonstrated that success by producing a yellowed chart he produced in 1994 which showed how cutting the then spending growth of 8% annually to 2% growth, while maintaining revenue growth at 6% produced surpluses and eliminated the deficit by 1999.
“We know how to do it and we have done it and we can do it here,” Neumann said.
Neumann appeared at a Newsmakers Luncheon sponsored by the Milwaukee Press Club on Tuesday afternoon. He was energized and said the momentum in his race against Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker for the Republican gubernatorial nomination had turned in his favor.
“Wisconsin now spends $31 billion and takes in $29 billion. The difference is made up with budget gimmicks and federal stimulus funds,” he explained with another chart. “I would cut spending to 1% less than the annual inflation rate.”
He didn’t want to over-promise how much spending would grow under his watch, but he said increased business would increase tax collections, while having more people working would bring in more taxes. His plan for the inevitable surplus – tax reductions.
Those tax reductions would be across the board – income, sales, and property. But that doesn’t mean Neumann would eliminate them all. He even suggested taxes as a way out of our transportation woes. In addition to reprioritizing spending to close the $30 million hole in the transportation fund, he would redirect sales taxes collected on transportation related items from the general fund to the designated fund.
An area of transportation Neumann does not support is high-speed rail. “The facts are that the federal government doesn’t have the money and even without cost overruns, it is going to cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin and it is unfair to the taxpayers of Burlington, Green Bay or Superior to pay for a rail system between Milwaukee and Madison that they’re not going to use.”
Neumann also pledged to end environmental mandates and expansion grant, saying if the government gets out of the way of business, it will do the right thing for the environment and job creation.
“There is an anti-business attitude that is prevalent in our society that sets off this thing that business will do the wrong thing when given the opportunity between right and wrong. I come from the other side of this.”
He explained that businesses look at the cost benefits to actions. He referred to S.C. Johnson’s installation of environmental improvements at its Racine headquarters. While the project cost $14 million, the savings to the company from the investment was $32 million.
“Of course they moved forward because it was good for them and ultimately the state of Wisconsin,” Neumann said.
- Neumann acknowledged that the state GOP is not supportive of his gubernatorial run, even suggesting he drop out and run against Sen. Russ Feingold. He said his eye is on Madison because it is where he can do the most good.
“I don’t have a plan that will work for the federal government now. Washington is too messed up, they are so out of whack with the budget,” he said.
He promised to use Wisconsin to build a model of global competitiveness which can be replicated across the nation and then taken to D.C.
“This is not about a job promotion, this is about where I can do the most good.”