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Jim Doyle and Mark Green aren’t just competitors. They have starkly contrasting views on the top issues of the day – from health care to the death penalty.
Each campaign is spending a lot of energy on turning out its supporters and partisans, but there are still those undecided voters who have yet to make up their mind on a candidate.
To help voters make up their minds, we’ve assembled the major candidates’ top views on key issues.
To help pick the key issues, WisPolitics relied on a recent poll question that showed health care costs topped taxes as the No. 1 issue for likely voters in making their decision on whether to vote for Doyle or Green.
The September Checkpoint Survey, a statewide survey of 400 likely voters, found that 36 percent agreed the "cost of health insurance/health care costs'' was the most important factor in their guv's race decision.
That was followed by taxes (32 percent), public K-12 schools quality and costs (20 percent), and jobs (18 percent).
Other issues scoring in double-digits: ethics and campaign reform (13
percent), stem cell research (13 percent) and higher education quality and costs (12 percent).

Green: Favors state income tax deductibility of contributions to federal health savings accounts.  Favors tort reform to stop frivolous lawsuits and proposes business tax credits he calls ``Works Well Wisconsin,’’ or (W3). Wants to provide tax credits to businesses that establish wellness programs for workers. Wants tax credit for long term care insurance

Doyle: Has vetoed state tax deductibility, saying HSAs are utilized by just one percent of the U.S. population. After vetoing the Republican Legislature’s initial attempts to reinstate caps on non-economic medical malpractice lawsuit awards, signed a compromise version that capped awards at $750,000. Has proposed making health insurance premiums tax deductible, which he says would help 650,000 residents. Touts his administration’s work to allow imported, cheaper prescription drugs and to foster state-sponsored insurance pools.


Doyle: Credits his own veto-created tax ``freeze’’ for holding down property tax increases while preserving K-12 school funding. Touts balanced budget without raising general taxes and touts signing of tax cut for Social Security recipients. Has also proposed tax deduction for health insurance premiums. Opposed Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and Taxpayers Protection Amendment.
Green: Favored constitutional efforts such as TABOR and TPA to "freeze" spending at all levels of government. Notes Social Security tax cut a Republican plan. Says Doyle’s failure to enact the GOP’s "property tax freeze" cost taxpayers $600 million and says the state’s high tax burden is hurting economic development. Would exempt pensions from state income tax and would give immigrants a credit for costs to complete naturalization.

Green: Says he won’t cut state aid to education.  Claims he’s committed to the idea of two-thirds funding for K-12 but won’t promise to meet that mark in his first budget. "Seventy cent plan" proposes directing 70 percent of state aid for public schools be committed to classroom instruction. Touts merit pay for teachers.
Doyle: Pledges to continue two-thirds funding of schools. Says education his highest priority. Backed by WEAC, the largest state teachers’ union.


Doyle: Says state has experienced growth of 170,000 jobs since he took office and says Wisconsin’s job future lies in high-tech areas such as production of bio-fuels and new stem cell lines.
Green: Uses announcement by Menard’s of expansion out of state to claim that Doyle administration is not business friendly. Says Milwaukee has lost jobs while Doyle says there have been job gains in the state’s biggest city. Proposes moving Department of Workforce Development headquarters to Milwaukee.
Green: Wants a version of legislation to merge the state Ethics and Elections boards. Is challenging state Elections Board decision ordering him to give back $468,000 in PAC money he raised while in Congress. Scolds Doyle for failing to agree with him on pact to limit campaign spending and outside ads. 
Doyle: Responds that Green has failed to join him in proposing that so-called "independent" groups be subject to the same rules that candidate campaigns must follow. His campaign says Green refuses to give back "dirty Washington money." Meanwhile, federal and state investigators continuing probing possible links between donations and state actions and contracts. One former DOA civil servant has been convicted and sentenced in federal court for steering a travel contract to a Doyle donor. Has proposed an ethics package that would ban all fund-raising during the time that the budget is being considered.  

Doyle: Supports wide-open stem cell research as a way to produce good-paying jobs. Claims a Green administration would shut down stem cell research in the state.
Green: Supports state funding for stem cell research but not if it kills embryos. He says he supports the current federal limits on funding embryonic stem cell lines and has pledged $25 million in state money for technology that pulls stem cells from embryos without destroying them. Opposes human cloning that he says Doyle supports.

Green: Says Doyle’s board of regents has mismanaged system and allowed tuition increases for in-state students while out-of-state students get a break. Says Kevin Barrett should have been fired. Green also is critical of a Doyle proposal to give in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants who graduate from Wisconsin schools.
Doyle: Responds that tuition remains a bargain when compared to other Big Ten schools. Agrees Kevin Barrett not qualified to teach but says that decision has to be left up to the university.  And touts the "Wisconsin Covenant" plan to guarantee admission and financial aid to any UW or tech college for needy in-state 8th-graders who pledge to maintain a ``B’’ average in high school.

Doyle: Opposes amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions but said he opposes gay marriage. Has vetoed a Republican bill to define marriage as between "one man and one woman."
Green: Supports amendment.
Green: Supports death penalty for certain heinous crimes.
Doyle: Says life without parole is tougher punishment for the worst criminals. Says death penalty, as worded in advisory referendum, could be unconstitutional.

Doyle: Has vetoed bipartisan plans from the Legislature to allow concealed carry of handguns.  Opposed a recent idea to permit weapons in school to deter violence.
Green: Supports such measures.  Also opposed the weapons-in-school idea.

Green: Opposes abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother. But Green's spokesman says Green would not veto legislation that included a rape and incest exception.

Doyle: Favors ability of women to get abortions via "sound’’ Roe v. Wade decision, but supports certain limits on abortion rights such as parental consent.


Doyle: Touts his signing of a bipartisan plan pushing utilities to raise amount of energy from renewables. Committed state government to using 10 percent renewable energy by 2015. Also touts bio-fuels as a way toward Wisconsin energy independence. Has blamed Washington for high gasoline prices. Opposes new nuclear plants in Wisconsin. Has been a big ethanol supporter and presided over $7 million in pro-ethanol grants. Doyle supports a bill that died in the state Legislature to require all gasoline have at least 10 percent ethanol. Doyle also suspended the minimum markup law on gasoline after complaints from a state that said it was being investigated by the state for selling ethanol gas at too low of a price.
Green: Green, too, supported the suspension of the minimum markup law on ethanol blends. He also voted for an energy bill that requires production increases to 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012. He doesn’t commit to the state 10 percent ethanol requirement, saying the state should first gauge possible effects on air quality. Says nuclear should be part of Wisconsin’s future energy mix.


Green: Wants to split the DNR into two agencies – one for environmental protection, one for hunting and fishing. Green would appoint the environmental secretary while allowing the existing Natural Resources Board to appoint the conservation secretary.
Doyle: Opposes that plan and hints to some that he would sign a bill to reinstate a board-appointed secretary. Touts his administration’s efforts to streamline permitting.



Campaign web sites:

View WisPolitics.com coverage of gubernatorial debates with Doyle and Green:

See a WisPolitics profile of Eisman:

See WisPolitics coverage of Eisman's Pre-Debate Press Conference on Oct. 20:

Hear audio from an Oct. 20 Eisman press conference (large file, 20MB):

See WisPolitics.com coverage of Doyle and Green joint appearances before the Madison and Milwaukee chambers of commerce:

See the candidates' ads


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