For thousands of years, people have recognized the responsibility of a compassionate society to care for, support, encourage, and provide a quality life for all people, including the most vulnerable among us. To this end we establish governments, elect leaders and pay taxes.
How those taxes are collected and how those tax monies are utilized, however, becomes the subject of often heated debate. Budget time in Wisconsin, for example.
There are two lenses through which we can view our financial situation as a state: scarcity or abundance. How we view things has ramifications for how we live together. Believing there is not enough leads to anxiety, a closing in on oneself, a tendency to hoard. Those who have little are pitted against those who have less. Resentment, frustration, anger, and fear are fostered.
On the other hand, viewing our financial opportunities from a perspective of abundance opens us up. Feeling financially secure fosters cooperation and generosity. Equitably sharing the responsibility for the support and improvement of our society as a whole creates opportunities.
As we consider the state budget, it is easy to believe there is not enough.
The alternative budget we propose today discredits that myth. Rather than looking at our state resources from a perspective of scarcity, we look from a perspective of abundance. We have enough. We can fund what we need to fund to assure the strength of our communities and our state. By cleaning up the tax codes and eliminating tax loopholes that benefit the few at the expense of the vast majority, we can invest in Wisconsin and our commitment to supporting families and building thriving communities.
We can adopt A Wisconsin Budget for All.
Mary Stumme Froiland, Bishop
South Central Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA
Bishop Foiland’s remarks were given at a press conference in the Capitol in Madison, January 18, 2017, where “A Wisconsin Budget for All” was unveiled. “A Wisconsin Budget for All,” is a proposal that provides lawmakers with the framework to redirect $900 million of wasteful tax breaks into investments in the things that Wisconsin communities need to thrive: better schools, better health care, and an economy that works for everyone. Read the full proposal here.