Friday, August 24, 2007

Groundwork's Laid: More Taxes Coming

You'll read about the City of Milwaukee's horrendous street-replacement numbers at the top of the story.

But you only get the "Tax Increase Coming" part way at the bottom.

The street and alley replacement figures are a new feature of Morics' fourth annual report comparing spending and taxes in Milwaukee to nine similar U.S. cities. But unlike the other sections of the report, the comptroller doesn't offer a comparison of how well the other cities are keeping up with their infrastructure demands. That's partly because the other cities don't have solid data on that score, and partly because differences in climate have a major impact on how long streets and alleys last, Morics said.

As in the past, the comparison report found that total city taxes, user fees and city spending are all lower per capita in Milwaukee than in most similar cities.

Although Milwaukee ranks fourth in property taxes, at $377 a person, it comes in last in total taxes, because every other city studied also levies sales, income, vehicle or utility taxes, the report notes. For example, Cincinnati ranks sixth in property taxes, at $205 a person, but first in total taxes, at $1,327 a person.

Somehow or other, the report doesn't mention State income taxes or State sales taxes.

In addition, the report doesn't mention the level of State taxpayer support given to the other cities in Morics' study. Perhaps Morics noted that--and perhaps not.

Can you spell "groundwork"?

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