Along with the rest of the taxpayers in the City of Milwaukee, I recently received my property tax bill. The total amount of property tax paid is allocated to a variety of government entities, one of which is Milwaukee County. I noticed in the right-hand column that the total I paid to Milwaukee County went up 5.4%. When I looked up the national rate of inflation for 2011, it showed 3.4%. I wondered: why can’t Milwaukee County at least keep their spending levels at or below the rate of inflation?
Whenever our local politicians are asked this type of question, we get an answer similar to this: “It’s because Milwaukee County enjoys a high quality of life, compared to other areas.” So, I’ll ask you, the Milwaukee County taxpayer, how is YOUR quality of life? Did you get a 5.4% increase in pay last year? Do you feel safe riding the bus? Do you feel comfortable letting your kids play in the parks by themselves? Are you receiving a higher level of service than those living in adjacent counties? Why are people moving out of Milwaukee County faster than those moving in?
A recent article in the Journal Sentinel told the story of an appointment made by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. He gave the job of his new chief of staff to a former employee of his family’s foundation, Amber Moreen. After failing in efforts to create a slot for her in the 2012 county budget, Abele earlier this month took steps to raise the top pay for a vacant adviser job in his office by more than $50,000, to $113,500. The job was earmarked for Moreen. Did you receive a $50,000 raise this year?
During this campaign season, you will hear elected officials and candidates alike say that they want to “hold the line on taxes.” In reality, that means they favor your taxes going up slowly, so you do not notice and they cannot be blamed.
By contrast, I would like to see a CUT the overall tax burden on Milwaukee County residents, not simply “hold the line.” This means a net decrease in taxes from the prior year. Keeping more of our own money is my answer to increasing my quality of life. How about you?