The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

Don't Believe The Hype In The First Place

Milwaukee County, Taxes, Parks

We are set to have the sales tax increase in Milwaukee County to 6.25%.  That is bad!  A job killer and sales tax is a regressive tax.


Now it was billed as a need for 1% sales tax increase to help the homeowner out and help the parks.  Remember parks people.  Now it is about PORK!  And not the kind that Patrick Cudahy sells!


Well it looks like the “seed of greed - TAXES” is not going to be just for parks after all.  Please take note to the “Parks Left Out” section.


“Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports sharing sales-tax revenue among all county municipalities for public safety”


Question for you: 


If the money goes to for public safety for Milwaukee County, how much do you really think will be left after the City of Milwaukee is done with it?


Democrats OK smaller Milwaukee County sales tax increase, budget pork


Assembly Democrats dialed back a proposed sales tax increase for Milwaukee County, voting to allow the sales tax to rise 0.65% but not the full 1% recommended earlier by legislators, according to information released early Thursday morning.


Most of the sales tax increase — 0.5% — would go for Milwaukee County buses.  The remaining 0.15% would go for public safety. If approved, the change would allow the County Board to raise the sales tax from 5.6% to 6.25%.


The Joint Finance Committee last month recommended increasing the sales tax 1% to pay for buses, parks and public safety.


Democrats who control the Assembly also approved pork for their districts late Wednesday as they all but finished their version of the state budget they will take up Thursday.


Details of the amendments were released by the office of Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) after the Democrats' closed-door meeting broke up early Thursday morning.


The biggest spending items included in a list of "targeted investments" were: $700,000 for a biotech incubator included by Rep. John Steinbrink (D-Pleasant Prairie); $500,000 for transit in Sheboygan County included by Rep. Terry Van Akkeren (D-Sheboygan); up to $400,000 for Highway B in the district of Nick Milroy (D-Superior); $300,000 for environmental clean-up efforts in Adams County included by Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids); and $175,000 for Old Highway 18 in Stockton included by Rep. Louis Molepske Jr. (D-Stevens Point).


Assembly Democrats also voted to increase the fee on rental cars to $18 to pay for a second regional transit authority in southeastern Wisconsin.  The current fee is $2; the Finance Committee recommended raising it to $16.


The Assembly Democratic plan would allow $2 to go toward buses with the remainder funding a commuter rail line for Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties.


Budget proposals for sales tax, rental car fee draw mixed reviews


Local officials and business leaders offered mixed reactions Friday to the latest version of a state budget plan to raise sales taxes and rental car fees to fund public buses, commuter trains and police.


Assembly Democrats voted Thursday to authorize a 0.65-percentage-point Milwaukee County sales tax increase, down from the 1-percentage-point boost backed by the Joint Finance Committee and by county voters in an advisory referendum.  The higher tax would have raised money for both parks and buses, but the caucus version eliminated parks funding, leaving a 0.5-percentage-point share to replace property tax support for the Milwaukee County Transit System.


And instead of directing part of the sales tax money to Milwaukee, Democrats divided the 0.15-percentage-point share among all county municipalities and earmarked it for public safety.


At the same time, the caucus boosted a proposed $16-a-car, three-county rental car tax to $18 and split the additional revenue between the Racine and Kenosha bus systems.  Most of the rental car fee revenue will still go to the planned KRM Commuter Link train line.


Parks left out

Milwaukee County Supervisor Gerry Broderick called the sales tax vote "an extremely disappointing development and a disregard for expressed public opinion. ... I think these legislative activities have come close to signing the death warrant of the county parks system."


Broderick, the chairman of the County Board's Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee, said voters wouldn't have approved the November referendum if it had not included parks funding.  But Greater Milwaukee Committee President Julia Taylor said it didn't make sense for a proposed county transit authority to fund parks.


Taylor and Pete Beitzel, a vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said they would have preferred Gov. Jim Doyle's original recommendation for a three-county 0.5-percentage-point sales tax for both KRM trains and public buses.


Racine County lawmakers insisted on boosting the rental car fee, now $2, because of local opposition to sales taxes. Beitzel said the switch was unworkable, because the Federal Transit Administration won't consider the rental car fee to be adequate support for either trains or connecting bus systems. But Taylor, Doyle's appointee to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority, said she understood the sales tax objections.


State Reps. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said the federal government has not rejected rental car tax funding for other transit systems. Beitzel said other systems used rental car fees for part of their funding, not all of it.


Beitzel also criticized a requirement for Racine and Kenosha to raise their own revenue to match their share of the rental car money, about $450,000 each. But Taylor said it was better for bus systems not to be dependent on such a narrow revenue source.


Separately, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports sharing sales-tax revenue among all county municipalities for public safety, said his chief of staff, Patrick Curley.  It's not clear how the money would be divided, but the city expects to get much of the cash, Curley said.


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