Sunday, February 11, 2007

DarthDoyle's Lying Three-Card Monte

Tax, Tax, Who Takes the Tax?

Switch a few cups around on the table, fast--THEN repeat Tax, Tax, Who Takes the Tax?

Darth ain't too stupid. Recognizing that the Revolution (when it comes) may have serious effects--like the guillotine for him--he offers local officials the chance to participate in skinning the taxpayers.

Evidently he figures that taxpayers won't lop off the heads of everyone in Government.

Gov. Jim Doyle will ask the Legislature to let local governments raise their fall property tax levies by 4% - double the limit of the past two years, but a rate the governor said would still control local taxes.

The lying commences in the very next paragraph:

If the plan is passed by the Legislature, Doyle estimates it would cause a $75 increase - or 2.7% - in the December property tax bill on the median-valued Wisconsin home. Last year, the tax bill on that home was $2,730.

Only if you forget that the school tax may ALSO rise (and we use "may" with a laugh.)

Public school spending is controlled by separate formulas. Partly because of the passage of so many local referendums, the average statewide levy for public schools rose 5.4% last year, according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

Hardly the end of the lying. Here's another one:

To also control property tax bills, Doyle will recommend that the state continue to pay two-thirds of public school costs

"Continue" to pay? Recall that Darth UN-'continued' the 67% payment in the last budget. So yah, hey, if the State pops for 67%, it not only has to ratchet up from its current lower-level 'contribution;' it has to ratched up again, for the increases in school costs for THIS year (not to mention 2008.)

After the lying, there's the switcheroo:

Aides said the governor's plan will include:

• Providing $88 million in potential bonus payments, starting in 2009, to be shared by local governments that increase their levies at 85% or less of the maximum allowed.

• Providing $15 million more in state shared-revenue aid to local governments, a 1.5% increase. It would be the first increase in shared revenue in several years, Doyle said.

...and where's THAT $103 million coming from? (Hint: look in a mirror while holding your Wisconsin income-tax form.)

And finally, the "wish-and-prayer" method of payment:

• Providing a new credit on tax bills sent in December 2008 that Doyle aides say would be worth $48 to the owner of a typical home.

Under the new credit, the state would pay the tax levy for public schools on the first $5,545 of assessed value on any building - home, apartment, business or farm barn.

The credit would be paid the owners of 2.1 million parcels of property with buildings but not paid the owners of 1.6 million parcels that are vacant or farmland. That has raised questions of constitutionality.

The Wisconsin Constitution requires that all types of property be taxed equally.

State Budget Director David Schmiedicke said the new credit would be legal because all owners of property with buildings would be entitled to claim it.

So there's a cigarette tax increase, a driving-"fee"-increase, a petroleum-distribution-tax increase, a property-tax increase, and a "get-sick-and-pay-more" tax increase on the table.


"We think we're applying it in a uniform manner," Schmiedicke said.

No comments: