Tiffany promises fiscal discipline if sent to Washington as congressman
By Kevin O’Brien
State Sen. Tom Tiffany, a candidate for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, told local town officials last week that he wants to bring his experience with cutting government spending at the state level to Washington, D.C. Speaking to members of the Western Marathon County Towns and Villages Association, the Republican from Hazelhurst said he was motivated to run for State Senate nearly a decade ago because of over-spending in Madison.
“The reason I went to the legislature is because of the $3 billion deficit that was there in 2010,” he said. “That’s no way to run a government, and we’ve turned that around.”
Tiffany said, as he predicted, it took more than one two-year budgets to turn the state’s finances around, but after a decade, Wisconsin now has its largest rainy day fund in state history, with a balance of $600 million.
“The same thinking needs to go to Washington, D.C.,” he said. “We cannot continue these deficits that are burdening the next generation and the generations to come.”
During the same Oct. 30 speech to township officials, Tiffany pointed out a few areas in the recently passed state budget where he wanted to see more money spent.
Tiffany called Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to redirect funding for an extra prosecutor from Marathon County to Milwaukee County “unfortunate,” saying Milwaukee “really did not need an additional district attorney position.”
Tiffany also criticized the governor for cutting funding for public school Fab Lab grants, a prison-to-work program at Northcentral Technical College, and an autism school at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua.
He also noted that lawmakers included $90 million for the state’s Local Road Improvement Program in the budget, but the governor reduced it by $15 million.
“We really need those dollars going to local roads, and unfortunately there was a veto there also,” he said.
Ultimately, though, Tiffany said he’s happy that the Republican-controlled legislature was able to work with the Democratic governor to get a new twoyear budget in place.
“It was good that Gov. Evers signed the budget,” he said. “I think we worked responsibly together on that, but those vetoes I thought were not necessary.”
On a side note, he said lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow local municipalities — towns, villages and cities — to adopt two-year budgets like the state does instead of approving them for one year at a time. As a former town board official himself, he said he would have liked to have had that option.
“I think it’s a really good thing that we have a biennial budget,” he said. “I can’t imagine doing it every year.”
Tiffany also touted a bill recently passed by the Senate that would provide state funding for special elections, like the one he is running next year to replace Congressman Sean Duffy.
As announced by Gov. Evers last month, the special election primary for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District will fall on Feb. 18, the same day as a regularly scheduled statewide primary.
However, the general election for the 7th District will be May 12, about a month after local spring elections are held.
“The governor could have put that on the April 7 ballot if he would have chosen to, and he put in on the May 12 ballot, which leaves us un-represented until May 12 in this congressional district.”