Article I, Section 22 of the state constitution reads so eloquently: "The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."
Today, in this inauguration, we affirm these values and fundamental principles.It is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people.
I think that passage from our constitution is an excellent set of guiding principles for any administration and if Walker does indeed follow them, I think we'll have a good four years.
That said, I think he needs to be careful with legislation like this. While I think it's an excellent idea to require a supermajority for tax increases - or a statewide referendum - this particular legislation isn't the way to go. This really is a watered down version of TABOR or the TPA and anything that would require a supermajority of either house of the legislature should be done as a constitutional amendment. Doing this through an ordinary bill could be portrayed as an end run around the constitution and the citizens of the state.
There are more than enough votes to get this passed as a constitutional amendment and I think we would be much further ahead as a state if we went that route. I know that it may seem like a minor point, but I think it's an important one. The Governor and the legislature need to be focused like a laser on jobs and government spending, but we can't lose sight of the big picture either. Tinkering with supermajorities and the will of the people deserves the honesty of passing a constitutional amendment.
That would stay true to the principles Gov. Walker extolled in his inaugural address:
What is failing us is not our people or our places. What is failing us is the expanse of government. But we can do something about that starting today.
We, the people of Wisconsin, have every right to reclaim our rightful place in history. We will make this a Wisconsin we can believe in.
More than 162 years ago, our ancestors believed in the power of hard work and determination. They envisioned a new state with limitless potential.
Now, it is our time to once again seize that potential. We will do so at this turning point in our history by restoring limited government that fosters prosperity for today and for future generations.
Justice… Moderation… Temperance… Frugality… Virtue. These are the values upon which our state was formed and the values that will drive us forward.