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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time To Go To Override

by capper

I wrote last week about the importance of the Milwaukee County Board to override Scott Walker's veto of the sales tax referendum.

Walker has, in the last week, offered up a lot of rhetoric in trying to persuade the Board in not going for the override. His rhetoric is full of false arguments, and a dose of hypocrisy. He claims that the sales tax would make Milwaukee County a "tax oasis", drive business out of Milwaukee County, wouldn't really provide tax relieve, and that the voters already had such a referendum when they re-elected him last April.

I wrote a piece nearly a year ago, at this here site, on the irrational argument of a sales tax making Milwaukee County a "tax oasis." And at that time, gas was relatively cheap at $3 a gallon. Now that gas is hovering around the $4 a gallon range, his argument is even more specious. His supporters try to argue about how much money they could save on a large purchase, ranging in the thousands of dollars. But in today's economy, how many people are going to be willing to make purchases that large on a regular basis? Not many, I'm sure.

In the same piece, I pointed out that the sales tax in Milwaukee County was already higher than that in surrounding counties, but that businesses were still thriving in Milwaukee. Having an even higher sales tax in Chicago doesn't appear to have shut that city down either. If anything, major employers, like Miller, are leaving Milwaukee, but it has nothing to do with the taxes. But transportation seems to have more of an effect on the issue.

Walker is absolutely incorrect when he says that the sales tax won't provide property tax relief. It will do so. Walker is hoping that people will confuse tax relief with tax prevention. It won't keep taxes from going up indefinitely, but it will ease the pain. More long-lasting tax relief would come from things Walker and his ilk oppose, like a rational approach to health care, developing alternative forms of energy and making corporations pay their fair share of taxes. The hypocritical part comes in when Walker argues that in the '90s tax relief measures still resulted in higher taxes. It is hypocritical of Walker to say this, as that a major reason for the increase in county taxes was due to the State government short-changing Milwaukee County (something that he still complains about), due to budgets that he and his Republican allies helped forge and pass.

Walker's assertions about the referendum already being held is as equally laughable as the rest of his arguments. Yes, he was elected by a respectable margin. But so were the members of the County board who are poised to override his veto.

The thing that Walker hasn't mentioned in his arguments about how much the sales tax would cost us, is how much more it would cost the county to have a failing transit system or a parks system that is in ruins. That would do more to drive away taxpayers and businesses alike.

It's not too late to call your local county board supervisor, and encourage him or her to override the veto. You can get the contact information for your Supervisor here, and if you don't know who your Supervisor is, you can find out by clicking here.

Cross posted at Cognitive Dissendence, with the slightest in modifications for coherency purposes.

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