State dictator wields veto pen

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Looking through the list of Gov. Jim Doyle’s vetoes of the state budget is revealing. Wisconsin’s legislative system resembles a constitutional monarchy much more closely a republican government. The governor, although no longer able to essentially re-write bills by crossing out letters and reworking sentences, can still drastically change bills without the legislature’s approval. It’s incredible.

In his role as state dictator, Doyle provided mixed results.

He prevented illogical passions from bogging down sentencing reform by vetoing an unfair provision of the budget that would have made future offenders ineligible for the “early release for good behavior” program that was set up to reform our backwards corrections system and save the state big money.

For all the whining from right wingers about a tax and spend governor, Doyle actually came down on the side of business on a variety of measures in the bill. For instance, he vetoed a fee for construction landfills, writing that it was unfair to require owners of landfills and that the provision may have unintended consequences for construction during a time when infrastructure projects are meant to be a key for economic development. He also vetoed a $15 sticker for out-of-state boaters, expressing concerns of a deterrent effect on tourism. I would classify this as bullshit –$15? It would only be a problem if those who fail to get stickers got huge fines.

He reduces funding for the film tax credit from $1.5 million to $500,000. Barbara Lawton is going to be pissed.

He strikes one digit from a grant to the Pleasant Prairie Incubator Technology Center to reduce funding from $700,000 to $70,000. Ouch.

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3 Responses to “State dictator wields veto pen”

  1. Todd Stevens Says:

    I’ll give Doyle kudos for the tax credit. Even at the $1.5 million level, no production would film in Wisconsin unless they specifically wanted to film here (a la Public Enemies). If they were just looking for a generic midwestern setting and could be swayed by tax incentives, they can simply go to Michigan where tax incentives are already much higher than in Wisconsin.

    • Jason Smathers Says:

      Well, then that’s quite a stupid move by Doyle then, isn’t it? Why not just strike the entire item from the budget if it does no good at it’s current level?

      I disagree with your assessment of the tax incentive, but then again, I disagree with your logic more.

  2. Todd Stevens Says:

    At $500,000 the incentive will still be enough to get independent films off the ground, the kind that local Wisconsin film makers create. At $1.5 million the state is simply angling for blockbusters that they’re not going to get. A movie like Public Enemies would have filmed here regardless of what the tax credit was, what they wanted were the specific historical locations found in the state. For productions like that, where a studio is going to spend X million dollars regardless of what the tax credit amount is, the state might as well save money by lowering the tax credit.

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