State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, announced today that he is running to fill the seat being vacated by current state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield. Running for the state senate fulfills the promise he made when he first ran for the state Assembly to limit himself to four terms, Kooyenga told Dan O’Donnell on WISN-AM.
“We’ve accomplished a lot the last seven years with Governor Walker and the Republicans but there’s still a lot of socialism in Madison to unwind after decades of that,” Kooyenga said. “I just know I can make an impact in the state senate.”
Kooyenga said that he already represented much of the senate district before redistricting. “So I represented Elm Grove and West Allis, so I’m looking forward to reuniting with those great folks over there,” Kooyenga said.
Kooyenga told O’Donnell that we don’t need more Republicans, but we do need more conservatives in Madison. “Just having Republicans hold seats isn’t going to get us there,” Kooyenga said. “But having conservatives that execute is going to get us there.”
O’Donnell asked Kooyenga about being criticized for his transportation plan earlier this year. “I didn’t feel that I caught a lot of flak from conservatives,” Kooyenga said. “I think it was respectful conversation.”
“First of all, I don’t think high amounts of debt is a conservative position,” Kooyenga said. “And I’m against fifteen years of borrowing so solve our transportation issue.”
Kooyenga’s plan for transportation was to eliminate the minimum markup on petroleum products and then impose the state sales tax on gasoline.
“In the law it goes above and beyond for petroleum and says petroleum has to be marked up nine percent in Wisconsin,” Kooyenga said. “We have to mark up petroleum that much in Wisconsin. Where in other states the typical markup in the free market on petroleum is two-three percent.”
“So the proposal I put out there said let’s embrace the free market,” Kooyenga told O’Donnell. “That should lower the price of gasoline, and when we lower the price of gasoline we’ll have the flexibility to put the sales tax on which will allow us to lower our debt and take care of infrastructure needs.”
Kooyenga said that while some conservatives disagreed with him, they understood his approach and his free market perspective.
Kooyenga told O’Donnell the biggest issue confronting Wisconsin is not transportation, but our high income taxes. “We’ve made progress on our income taxes but we have the top [former Governor Jim] Doyle bracket that he put in place,” Kooyenga said. “We’ve made progress going from 7.75 percent to 7.65 percent.”
“I would like to get to a flat income tax in Wisconsin,” Kooyenga said. “And this is for people trying to climb the economic ladder. This is for people who have retired at the top of the economic ladder and are looking at places to retire.”
Kooyenga said that budget savings for future tax cuts could be found in cleaning up the tax code and by eliminating paying the counties for the Obamacare “navigators.” But Kooyenga says he also wants any additional revenue from economic growth to go to lowering taxes.
“Despite the tax cuts, despite the Democrats saying that we’re going to starve the beast and we’re not going to have enough money for schools, we’re cutting taxes and seeing more revenue,” Kooyenga said.
“What we got to do when that additional revenue comes into Madison, what we need to do is say this revenue should go back to the private sector,” Kooyenga said. “It should not go to growing government.”
Kooyenga pointed out to O’Donnell that while Foxconn will attract people to move here, Illinois’ income tax rate is still lower than Wisconsin’s highest tax bracket.
“Since Illinois has a reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin,” Kooyenga said. “Those individuals that travel from Illinois to Wisconsin will still be paying Illinois taxes. And for many of those individuals, the Illinois income taxes are still lower than Wisconsin income taxes even after we’ve lowered our income taxes and they’ve raised income taxes.”
You can listen to the entire interview by O’Donnell below.