Thursday, September 22, 2005

Can We Afford to Live Here?

J J Blonien, a warrior of the first water, publishes a newsletter: the Wisconsin Conservative Digest ( which is one of the really realiable and readable goodies out there.

In his latest issue, J J asks the question: can we actually afford to live here? He does marshal a few facts which are dismal:

  • Wisconsin has the third-highest tax burden as a percentage of income;
  • Wisconsin residential property-taxes are the third-highest in the USA (03/04);
  • Wisconsin is ranked fifty-first as a retirement site (Bloomberg);
  • Wisconsin has the nation's leading gas tax at .324/gallon; and
  • Wisconsin's cost-adjusted spending per-pupil is highest in the nation ($10,249.)

That was before Three-Card Monte Doyle really got his hooks into us.

That's not all. In the near future, WEAC, for whom Three-Card is a very reliable towel-boy, will file a suit seeking "Adequacy" in educational spending for Wisconsin public school students. Should the WEAC prevail, Milwaukee's per-pupil expenditures will rise to a minimum of $14,719./pupil--and another study suggests $34, 486.!!

Oh--there's more. Remember TABOR? As most educated observers know, Three-Card, WEAC, and the AFSCME are fighting like mad to keep TABOR from emerging soon. But they are hardly alone; there is NO Democrat in the Legislature that wants it, and there are, perhaps, only a few Republicans who actually want it.

So here's the plan: Glenn Grothman will come up with a TABOR bill which, rather than limiting spending, will limit revenue growth to all levels of Government in Wisconsin. That's a very good plan--among other things, it comports with a conservative view of 'local control' of spending.

However, the plan will be skewered by amendments (last-minute or not) which will: 1) use Personal Income Growth as the benchmark for revenue increases, whereas the best measure for taxpayers will be the CPI index plus 2% (plus population growth, where applicable;) and 2) will require a "supermajority" of the Legislature to over-ride its provisions, rather than taxpayer referendum controls.

Go ahead--ask me why? Here's the answer: NO politician wants go give up spending Other People's Money. No Way, No How. Pass TABOR with CPI+2 and Referendum Controls, and the Pols will not control the money.

By the way, and on-topic: my State Senator emailed to advise that 'there are a lot of co-sponsor papers being circulated,' thus, he just didn't sign on to SB331--although he states that he most likely will support it if it emerges from Committee.

It's too much effort to sign on, eh, Senator? Or--is it just that the Pubbie Boyzz who are running for higher office don't want to see the automatic-increase provision go away BEFORE the November elections? See, that would put them in a really bad spot: if the auto-increase is stopped, then DOT's highway-funding increases go away as of next April. But next April the higher-office wannabees will be collecting money from Highway Contractors.

It's a real bitch, ain'a?

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