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Wisconsin Legislator Dale Kooyenga Deserves Praise

May 7, 2017

Most Wisconsin drivers have more than once over the past months grimaced and slapped the steering wheel while driving on one of our many awful roadways.  We have all read news articles and then been embarrassed about the placement of our state among the nation’s worst for roads in need of repair.    For far too long the issue of how to fund our state’s transportation needs has been punted down the field in hopes that somehow it will miraculously get easier in a new legislature.  But of course, it never does.

Last week State Representative Dale Kooyenga put forth a large, multi-faceted, and rather complicated proposal to address the long-simmering issue of road funding.   It had tepid support from some and outright rejection from others.  But something is missing if we only concentrate on what we heartily agree with, or what we strenuously oppose.

There is much to unpack from the proposal and ponder.  At first read the flat tax idea is simply a most misguided approach.  There is value in a progressive income tax and a degree of fairness that is missing from adopting this alternative.  Meanwhile higher taxes and additional means of revenue need to be collected and channeled into our state’s roads and bridges.   Therefore I am comfortable with the gas tax ideas if they are actually going to reap the revenue that is hoped for.    All of these ideas will be argued about, and some if not all of them, will never see the light of day.

But that is not why I post about this matter.  As a Democrat I want to take a moment to give some praise to Kooyenga, a Republican.   I do so because he has done exactly what we should desire from any person elected to serve in the legislature.

Too often those in elected positions can easily provide a list of problems and complaints regarding a raft of issues.  We have seen over and over how budget cycles come and go in our state and yet the funding concerns remain about our roads.   Republicans and Democrats alike have known for years a day of reckoning was coming over this matter but all were too reticent about saying where they stood on future funding, or how the state should proceed.

One thing is certain whether you agree or not with what Kooyenga proposed.  He should be applauded for doing his research and having the courage to stand up and make his case.  There is no doubt that he has walked into a hornets nest, and what I most respect about him is that he did so with the knowledge he would get repeatedly stung.  I truly admire that quality in a politician regardless of which party they call home.

That is not how most of our legislature acts.  We need more attempts at thinking outside the box and proposing solutions and less time just lamenting how hard all the problems are to fix.

Hand clap to Dale Kooyenga!

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