So, we are now close to taking the first, painful step toward fixing the financial crisis in Wisconsin. A budget that eliminates structural deficits. A budget that doesn't rely on one-time influxes of money to pay for continuing expenses. A budget that represents what people living here can actually afford to pay.
All of that will become a moot point however, if financial restraint doesn't become a benchmark of public policy in the future. The world of finance is littered with people, companies and governments that made tough, one-time moves to get out of the hole--but then gave up on the principals of balanced budgeting to get into an even deeper hole. Sort of a "well I sacrificed a little bit there--so now I deserve to go spoil myself" kind of mentallity.
By getting back to "true zero", the state is now poised to grow along with the rest of the economy. It might not come this year or the next (there is some hope for the economy after January of 2013)--but Americans are just too resilient to let the continued de-valuation of the dollar and attempts to get the government involved in as much of the economy as possible to keep them down too long. We love shopping and buying too much to sit on our wallets forver. With that increased activity--hopefully done with money we have earned not money we are borrowing--tax revenues will grow and we will have more money for the programs we "want" to have here in Wisconsin.
It was the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu who coined the phrase "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Now its up to Wisconsin residents to keep taking the steps necessary after this first one today.