Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tax for The Culture?

Dan Finley, whose chair at Waukesha County is still warm, now floats an idea--another un-accountable and un-elected bunch who will comprise a District which will have tax and spend authority--this one to support "culture."

To nobody's surprise, the concept has already been in discussion by the Power-Suit group in Milwaukee (the Greater Milwaukee Committee). The initial study is being done by Steve Marcus, Julia Taylor, and Chris Abele.

Finley inadvertently pointed to the challenge: "We've got to come up with a way to support them because we can't afford to lose any one of them." The Journal-Sentinel report specified only the Boerner Gardens and the Museum, but did NOT identify "other financially troubled attractions."

Finley concedes that this may be controversial. We agree: just ask George Petak.

Milwaukee's United Performing Arts Fund supports the Milwaukee Symphony, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Bel Canto Chorus, the Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Danceworks, Bialystock & Bloom, First Stage Children's Theater, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Skylight Theater.

Then there are performance venues in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, (not part of the public schools,) plus a wide variety of "single-issue" art/museum entities (Black Holocaust, e.g.) another 20 or so performing groups NOT supported by UPAF (The Milwaukee Opera Company, the Sunset Theater, the Milwaukee Children's Chorus)--not to mention specific County-park goodies like the Domes and the Washington Park bandshell...the list is extremely long.

Which ones 'can we not afford to lose?'

Even if that decision can be made without terminal violence being inflicted on a few people (a dubitable proposition,) how much goes to those who remain standing? And then--how much is the Tax?

Dan, you've set a table for more guests than you want to host with this one...


Anonymous said...

Proving once again that you can take a wo/man out of county government but you cannot take county government out of the wo/man.

Gee... that didn't take long. I love the way everybody from everywhere started adding to Finley's list.

You are right Dad29 - he is going to find a lot of uninvited guests at that table and I don't think he has enough food and wine to go around.

Sounds like a Biblical lesson.

James Wigderson said...

You mentioned George Petak just to bait me, right? :)

This idea is pretty much of a non-starter. The other candidates for Waukesha County Executive have just found an issue to beat Mrs. Finley with, and I suspect they won't let it go.

Racine County has said no (a-maz-ing!). Do you think Ozaukee County would agree to be the lone subsidy of Milwaukee's bills?

Dad29 said...

W, you're partly correct--Petak is the poster-child...you happen to like him.

Why just Racine and Ozaukee? There's Waukesha and Washington, too. May as well go for ALL the money.

James Wigderson said...

I've already ruled out Waukesha, given the County Exec change. Washington County I admit I have no feel for. Given the distance the main population is from Milwaukee's downtown, plus my limited experience living up there, I'd have to say they'll do whatever Waukesha and Ozaukee County do.

Dad29 said...

W, you don't get it.

Finley's going to carbon-copy the Brewers' approach: to hell with County gummints--we'll make it a State law and FORCE the bastards to pay.

All it takes is a friendly Governor.

James Wigderson said...

At the state level, everyone remembers the Petak example. That's why Brown County got stuck with the Packers' renovation. (You wanna talk about taxpayers that got screwed...)

Who on the Republican side who may harbor ambitions of higher office wants to tick Waukesha and Racine off? Even if they don't want higher office (yeah, right) the last thing they want to do is upset their constituents to the point of recall. You think a stadium is unpopular, wait until CRG and a Democrat front group gets a hold of a naughty picture at the art museum that's been "funded" by five counties.

You also have to remember what a "near-run thing" Miller Park was. It took four Republican State Senators whom then-majority leader Senator Mike Ellis relied on for support to point to Racine and say, if Racine's not included, you don't have our votes either.

Sorry for the long comment on the inside baseball side of it (pun intended).

Anonymous said...

Findley has always been a soft Republican. If he lived in Milwaukee County he would have been a happy Democrat. He likes personal power more than personal principles. This is not a surprise for those who have watched Findley for years.