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Monday, October 20, 2008

This Is What Got Walker So Upset?

by capper

As Jay mentioned last week, I had pointed out that Walker was being more than a bit hypocritical when he complained about the County Board sending out a mailing regarding the sales tax referendum.

I had received a special request to transcribe the mailing due to the fact that Supervisors Rice, Sanfelippo, Cesarz and Borkowski do not want their constituents to be informed. It is my understanding that the mailing should be available in pdf form in the near future, but it is still important to try to get the information out so that people won't have to rely on the lies of Scott Walker and his squawkers to make a rational decision. I decided to put it on this site since it still gets more hits than my 2.3 readers, and Jay hasn't changed the locks to the place yet.

The mailing reads as follows (emphasis theirs):

Dear Residents of Milwaukee County:

On Election Day, you will have an opportunity to participate in a countywide referendum regarding taxation in Milwaukee County. This is your opportunity to consider a tax shift plan that would lower property taxes while raising the sales tax to support mass transit; park, recreation and culture; and emergency medical services (EMS). We would like to share with you the facts that led us to place this issue on the November 4th ballot:
  • The referendum is advisory and will not directly result in changes to the sales tax or property tax. It simply asks if you support a one percent sales tax, generating approximately $130 million, to support property tax relief; mass transit; parks, recreation and culture; and EMS (paramedics).
  • A recent study from the Public Policy Forum shows the Milwaukee County Transit System will face a $20 million shortfall within two years if a dedicated funding source, such as a sales tax, is not identified. Deferred maintenance in the parks now exceeds $300 million. Funding for crucial EMS services can also be stabilized through dedicated funding.
  • The referendum question asks if you support removing these services from the property tax rolls - currently paid by Milwaukee County property owners - and shifting them to a sales tax, a significant percentage of which is paid by visitors to Milwaukee County and those who do not own property.
  • The advisory referendum question states property tax relief of at least $67 million. If this policy were in effect in 2008, it would establish a new county tax levy base of approximately $183 million, the lowest level since 1997 and down from the 2008 level of $250 million.
  • Only the Governor and Legislature can grant Milwaukee County officials the authority to increase the County's sales and use tax, but this is your chance to weigh in.

We encourage your thoughtful consideration and urge you to express your preference in this advisory referendum on November 4th. The yes or no referendum question will read:

"Shall the State of Wisconsin grant Milwaukee County the authority to provide property tax relief of at least sixty-seven million dollars ($67 million) by levying a one percent county use and sales tax to be used to removed the following three items from the property tax levy; parks, recreation and culture; transit; and emergency medical services (EMS)?"

Earlier this year, a super-majority of the County Board voted to place this item on the ballot. We want YOU to have a voice in this discussion, and we encourage you to participate in this important referendum on November 4th.

Sincerely yours,

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors

On the mailing, there is also a bar graph showing that a home in the City of Milwaukee, worth $150,000, would see a 27% reduction in taxes, going from $631 to $461. The graph further notes that property owners in other communties can expect similar savings. It also notes that savings are higher for property worth more than $150,000.

Now would someone tell me what was inappropriate about this, especially in light of Walker's long history of doing much, much worse on the taxpayer's dime?

For even more information about the tax referendum, click here.

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