Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Revenue Amendment a Threat to the Dells

This argument comes from Wisconsin Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), which he expressed at a tourism convention earlier in the week.

Olsen referred to the amendment as self-defeating, claiming it would hamper communities and businesses that want to grow faster than the restrictive rates dictated by the amendment. He explained bluntly: "It will have a chilling effect on what happens in the Dells."

What's particularly interesting here is the connection Olsen makes between the growth of government and the expansion of business. Proponents of the amendment would have you believe that this amendment would be a boon for business. Indeed, the biggest special interest group in the state, Wisconsin Manfacturers & Commerce, is pushing hard for its enactment.

However, what Olsen recognizes is the inseperable relationship between government and the economy. Businesses in this country have always relied upon government and public revenue to flourish. This is true for a number of reasons: the significant tax breaks given to industries in the form of government subsidies, the development of major transportation systems to connect people to commerce, the business created through government spending, the public education of the citizenry, and there are many others. If you diminish the place of government in an economy, you also risk harming certain industries that rely upon it.

I take this as evidence that we can count on Olsen voting against the revenue amendment if it comes up for a vote in the legislature this session. If just two more Republican state senators jump ship, it would likely spell the end of the road for this amendment.

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