(Re: “If you oppose repair bill, how would you fix finances?” March 10, 2011) In the March 10 print of the Commonwealth, Chris Schueller charged that not a single member of the “political left” had a suggestion about what can be done to close the $3.6 billion budget gap.

I didn’t make any suggestions due to the fact that all unions in Wisconsin had already told the governor that they would give him everything he wanted, just leave collective bargaining alone.

... Last April, nearly a year ago, the Institute of Wisconsin’s Future released a report saying that we could close two-thirds of the state’s $3.6 billion shortfall by collecting on taxes that are already owed to the state!

This “tax gap” is defined as the difference between the amount of money that taxpayers should pay and the amount that is actually paid.

Two-thirds of $3.6 billion leaves us with $1.2 billion. In his first month in office Gov. Walker signed in $140 million in tax breaks for corporations, which added to our deficit.

$1.2 billion minus $140 million per year (Wisconsin has a biennium budget) gives us $920 million. In 2011 Wisconsin is estimated to spend $52.7 billion dollars.

Wisconsin divides their budget up into 10 categories. Spending varies in each category. $16.4 billion in education, $4.5 billion on transportation and so on.

If we were to cut 1 percent from each of these 10 categories, not just ones which have unions, we would save $526 million a year or $1.05 billion over two.

$920 million minus $1.05 billion gives us a $132 million surplus by the end of our biennium budget.

I am not so naive to suggest that it is that effortless but for Gov. Walker to claim “we have no other options” is laughable. ...

The question was put forward if my wife, a Ripon College graduate who has master’s degree and holds three teaching licenses, would rather be a private school teacher instead.

Public school teachers have to be licensed to teach your kids. Private don’t.

Public school teachers major in education for four years, student teach on the job (without pay), and take two certification tests to get one license. That is the basic teacher.

Most have master’s degrees and multiple certifications so that they can teach your children more effectively.

We should all be thankful that there are those who are willing to take on this responsibility for the advancement of our society.

I recommend we care about our educators the way they care about our children.

— Bryan Ernst

343 Stanton St. No. 7

To read the entire letter, see the March 24, 2011 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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