Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Walker Does More Damage To Milwaukee County

The effects of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's incompetence and negligence is starting to compound, and Milwaukee County citizens and taxpayers are taking the brunt of it.

Over the last several years, the Milwaukee County Board had issued proposal after proposal to put a referendum increasing the sales tax in Milwaukee County. The purpose of the proposal was to make head way for restoring things like the transit system and the parks, while lowering property taxes for Milwaukee County citizens.

Each time the Board offered a proposal, Walker would veto it, and the Board would fail to override it.

This all changed last year, with the help of the Quality of Life Alliance, and liberal bloggers, like yours truly, the people of Milwaukee County were finally allowed to have their voices heard on the matter, and the referendum passed. Walker, instead of listening to the people, chose only to insult them instead.

To this day, due to Walker's putting his own political aspirations ahead of the common good, as done nothing to help the will of the people become reality, and the issue sits unattended to. One would think that a good leader would, in these terrible economic times, want to do what he or she could to bring relief to the people. This is even more true, considering that Walker's only plank in his platform is his anti-tax position. But grandstanding has always been more important than good governance, in Walker's myopic vision.

And before my conservative detractors would argue against the sales tax being useful, I would strongly suggest that they cast their eyes northward to Washington County, which passed a sales tax back in 1999. They are really reaping the benefits of it, too:
Washington County collected a record $9.55 million in 2008 from its half-cent sales tax, county Finance Director Susan Haag said Monday.

County sales tax revenue increased $428,469, or nearly 4.7%, from 2007, records show. Sales tax collections have increased each year since the tax was established in 1999.

In 2008, about 70% of sales tax revenue was used to finance building renovations, major equipment purchases and new construction projects. The county allocated the remaining 30% to its 2008 operating budget for debt payments and other expenses. The sales tax dollars eliminated the need to spend property tax dollars for those purposes.

For 2009, an estimated 50% of sales tax dollars will be used for debt payments and other operating costs. Consequently, the county for the first time in at least a quarter-century was able to cut its annual property tax levy this year.

Obviously, the sales tax didn't make Washington County a "tax island", and it is benefiting its citizens immensely, with all of the improvements to their county's infrastructure. And they were able to cut their property taxes as well! This, of course, made one of Walker's biggest fans, Owen Robinson, very happy. I just find it unfortunate that Owen, like Walker, didn't think Milwaukee County taxpayers should be allowed the same consideration.

Walker denying Milwaukee County taxpayers relief, while restoring vital services like transit, is bad enough, but it doesn't stop just there.

We already know that Walker doesn't want any stimulus dollars, even after he asked for stimulus dollars. Then he wanted the stimulus dollars again, but only if he could live in the land of make-believe. Well, guess what. He's against taking any stimulus dollars again.

Fortunately, County Board Lee Holloway showed the leadership that Walker lacks, and took it upon himself to fill out his own list of needs that the stimulus money could be put towards.

I learned today, from two independent sources, that the County Board, seeing that Walker was going to be a complete fool, went ahead and formed a committee to help streamline the process of getting and using the stimulus money that will be coming to Milwaukee County, no thanks to Walker.

Unfortunately, this committee has already hit a roadblock by Walker when he ordered his department heads to not cooperate with this committee in any shape, way or form. This is insanity. It doesn't matter whether Walker thinks the stimulus dollars are a good idea or not. The bill has already been signed. It's a done deal.

For Walker to refuse to take advantage of the money, even though we are going to get taxed to pay for it, is no longer political posturing. Again, it is utter insanity. It is like chipping in for an elaborate feast, and then, even though you're literally starving to death, you refuse to eat any of the food.

I also found out today that Walker has ordered Sue Black and the Parks Department to slash the budget by cutting out a full 50% of the seasonal help. This means that the parks will look even crappier this year. Not only that, but it will effect the safety of the public as that it would also affect the number of lifeguards and the number of the park rangers that he touted last couple of years as a means to keep park-goers safe. It will also affect other areas like the zoo. If you wonder why you can't get your kid an ice-cream or a hot dog, because the concessions stands are closed, now you know why.

I am simply dreading to see Walker's 2010 budget proposal. That is when people are really going to start feeling the pain.

Adding to the mess that he is making, his is risky proposal for obligating the county to a $400 million dollar in pension bonds. The ever-astute Gretchen Schuldt is on top of that story with her post this morning, being the only source to tell people ahead of time that there was even going to be a informational session on the matter. She also spoke with County Board Supervisor John Weishan, who explains why the pension bond scheme is a shaky plan at best.

But as Weishan pointed out in Gretchen's post, Walker doesn't care about resolving the pension crisis. He is only worried about giving the false impression that he is resolving it long enough for him to make another already-doomed run at the governor's mansion. This was his method of operation leading up to his failed 2006 campaign, and he is trying it again, even though it will be even harder for him to hide his failures this time around.

Which all leads us to the ongoing question (say it with me): Can we recall him now? Please?


  1. Sure. And in Washington County, since ~2006, CABELA'S has provided a major part of that sales-tax revenue.

    Cabela's is collecting that sales-tax largely from NON-RESIDENTS of Washington County.

    You may tax yourself to death in Milwaukee County. Don't count on other State residents to contribute, as WashCty can with a destination such as Cabela's.

  2. Cabela's! Why didn't I think of that? That is surely a bigger draw than any old festival like Summerfest, or State Fair. It's also probably bigger than the Brewers, the Bucks, the performing arts centers, Marquette events, etc., etc., etc.

    And no one would want to come to Milwaukee for a convention,would they? Especially not tight-fisted conservatives!