Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Call That Armored Truck For Your Tax Savings Quite Yet

The latest bit of propaganda to come out of Scott Walker's "Please don't fire me" camp is that his budget disrepair bill will be saving tax payers $47 million dollars next year.  This has been, of course, dutifully parroted by the unthinking echo chamber.

But don't call for that armored car to take all your savings to the credit union just yet.

As Jake points out, the savings turns out to be rather inconsequential:
If you look at 2010 Census figures, you'll see that we have just under 5.7 million people lucky enough to live in Wisconsin. So that $47 million in property taxes is all of $8.28 person. WOO-HOO!! But, to be fair, a lot of those people are kids who don't exactly pay property taxes or rent, so let's also use the 2.625 million state housing units and see what the average place got for a tax break.

$17.93. That's the reduction for each household. Not even $18. Keep that thought

But wait, there's more! Check out your individual school district here, then go to the end of the report and note the statewide numbers, which not only show the total levy, but the tax rate. Then compare the mill rate with 2011, and a hidden point comes up.

School mill rates 2011 vs. 2012
2010-2011- 9.76 overall, 9.80 K-12
2011-2012- 9.84 overall, 9.88 K-12

That's right, school property tax rates went up this year. So if your property's value stayed the same in Wisconsin, it's likely your school property taxes will go up, regardless of how the Sykes/Belling/Walker team try to spin it. And if they don't go up, it's probably because your home's value went DOWN, and not by a little. But hey, who cares if you're underwater on your house when you can save $1.50 a month in (deductible) property taxes, right?
There is one thing that Jake missed though.

Because of Walker's slashing of the school funding, 3,400 teachers, teacher's aides, administrators and other school staff members have lost their jobs.

Now, these poor people that lost their job for a meager buck and a half a month will be collecting unemployment benefits. And unlike when a private sector worker loses their job, there is no pool for the money to come from. The governmental body that laid off their personnel has to pay for it as they go along. Given that the average amount of unemployment insurance compensation is $300 a week, lets to the math:
3,400 laid off employees X $300 per week X 52 weeks = $53,040,000
Now, I'll admit that I'm not familiar with the fuzzy math that Republicans like to use, but as far as I can tell, $53 million is greater than $47 million.

So now we're $6 million in the red. Or to put it another way, instead of pocketing $1.50, we could be paying up $2.30 a month.

Whoa, that kind of sucks. We get poorer schools and have to pay more for it? Not a deal I'd take.

Oh, well, Walker the job creator will have those laid off teachers back to work in no time. Oh, wait, that's right. Under Walker's inept maladministration, we are losing jobs even as the rest of the nations is gaining.

And even if you dismiss my assertion regarding the unemployment as that much malarkey, you'd still be better off not calling for that armored truck yet.

From the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, we find another little inconvenient fact to put a stop to Walker's spin...the fees:
In summary, the changes included in the Joint Finance Committee's budget would decrease net taxes by $23,572,000 ($5,135,000 in 2011-12 and -$28,707,000 in 2012-13) and would increase net fees by $111,340,800 ($37,248,900 in 2011-12 and $74,091,900 in 2012-13).
You could double Walker's tax levy drops and still be losing money due to the greatly elevated fees.

Under Walker's budget, people are going to need to get a second and maybe even a third job to afford his tax savings. That is, if we had any jobs for them in the first place.


  1. Awesome work, Chris!!! Just awesome!!!! You and Jake deserve medals.

  2. Looks like peeps of Milwaukee will need a fourth job under Abele. Recall?

  3. The Board overruled all but five of Abele's vetoes. Also, a recall isn't necessary. Abele is up for reelection in the spring. Sadly, I don't think anyone worth voting for will be running against all that money that he and GMC has.