Is the Republican favorite in the race for governor a Jim Doyle-style spender? The latest dustup in the GOP primary campaign has former congressman Mark Neumann accusing Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker of proposing to increase spending at a faster rate than Governor Jim Doyle over the past eight years – 35% by Walker versus percent 27% proposed by Doyle, according to Neumann, who highlighted the numbers during a press conference outside the governor’s office in the state Capitol.
“This is spending increases far in excess of the rate of inflation over the last eight years,” said Neumann. “These guys tried to fix our state by spending more money, and it does not work. The outcome is our economy is shambles.” For his part Walker suggested that Neumann, a former math teacher, may need to check his figures. “We have a strong track record,” said Walker during a conference call with reporters. “I said when I first ran in 2002, that I would not propose a property tax levy increase from the previous year. I’ve done that for eight consecutive budgets.”
“I am in the race for governor because somebody needs to bring conservative principles to the governor’s race, and conservative principles to the governor’s race,” said Neumann. “Conservative principles meaning smaller government, less spending, lower taxes and more personal responsibility, and these records do not indicate that’s gonna happen.” Walker disputed Neumann’s assertions. “I can just tell you specifically I dispute it just based on 2010 alone, in that our numbers in terms of the outright operating budget, not the capital budget, went down 4.9%.” And Walker added, his focus as governor will be on balancing the state budget and providing tax relief. “I haven’t laid out a percentage (of spending cuts) out,” said Walker. “My bigger goal is balancing the budget and still providing for tax cuts. In the end, that’s what’s really going to drive economic growth and opportunity.”